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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Careers in renewable energy

Energy is fundamental to the subsistence on which society, industry and commerce depends. Discussion is rife that it is no longer an option but a necessity, and an incredible opportunity, to mobilize our masses and direct them towards resources of the future: biomass, wind, solar, water and geothermal, which is soon to overwhelm all aspects of our existence.

education Updated: Oct 16, 2019 14:03 IST
Dr Padmakali Banerjee
Dr Padmakali Banerjee
The coming years will see a surge in green jobs
The coming years will see a surge in green jobs (Mint/ File)
         

Once put into action fittingly, India’s renewable energy rush could be much more constructive than just lowering global warming levels in the country. It could help millions get career opportunities in the area of Renewable Energy. The coming five years will see a sudden upsurge in green jobs across the country.

Energy is fundamental to the subsistence on which society, industry and commerce depends. Discussion is rife that it is no longer an option but a necessity, and an incredible opportunity, to mobilize our masses and direct them towards resources of the future: biomass, wind, solar, water and geothermal, which is soon to overwhelm all aspects of our existence.

Water scarcity, pollution, global warming are some of the hazards of technology and excesses of mankind that are staring at us and can no longer be ignored. These are causing some serious health problems and the remedies are sought with immediate effect. Boardroom discussions can no longer produce results and now is the time every individual should join the crusade against these demons. Science was never distant from nature as every invention has its roots and inspiration in nature. It’s a pity that some of our innovative technology did not go down well with nature and wreaked havoc in the form of natural disasters. It is a clarion call for us to wake up and do the damage control. Fortunately for us, India is nature’s favoured region with abundance of energy produced by sun, wind, water and biomass. New and renewable energy is the only solution to fight with the hazardous effects of technology.

GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES DIRECTED TOWARDS RENEWABLE ENERGY

Government of India is taking various measures to utilize the natural sources of energy and has plans to add 500 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy to its electricity grid by 2030 in a bid to clean up air in its cities and lessen the rapidly growing economy’s dependence on coal. India has an ambitious target of installing 175GW by 2022 out of which 100GW is through solar power. India is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. To cut emissions and clean air, it now pledges to increase 40 percent of its installed capacity by 2030 which is a sharp increase from 21.4 percent at present. It will be a small step to satiate the energy appetite of its ever growing population.

RENEWABLE ENERGY AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

The introduction of renewable energy will lead to job creation in India. To meet the target set by Government of India for RE, there is a huge demand for equipment manufacturing in renewable energy sector which leads to a requirement of large number of skilled manpower. Manpower requirement is not limited to only manufacturing sector but it is needed in every area including Installation, System Designing, Operations & Maintenance, Financing and Marketing.

National Institute of Solar Energy was founded by Government of India for Research & Development and to produce skilled manpower in RE to help achieve the target set by Government. NISE, along with Green Jobs sector skills council is taking some wonderful initiatives to create awareness and enter into the arena of research and development in Renewable Energy.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IN COLLEGE CURRICULUM

Financial evaluation of renewable energy projects is required to understand the economic feasibility of RE projects. Topics like payback period, net present value, and internal rate of return, depreciation and depreciation accounting to evaluate a project’s viability need in-depth knowledge of the subject. Educational institutes can introduce programmes in these areas and help create professionals and Energy Managers. Managing risks and planning its mitigation is also an important area that needs emphasis to meet the project objectives. Students from Engineering and Management can get huge benefits from these courses.

Energy Management & Auditing forms an integral part of curriculum for renewable energy programs. These courses are designed with an objective to teach students the principles of energy management, requirement of energy management, techniques of its implementation and net gain from energy management & auditing. Energy Auditing can provide a very lucrative career to students who have an interest in this disruptive technology.

Government and Private Educational Institutes should take the lead in incorporating Renewable energy programmes in their curriculum. Amity University Haryana has taken the initiative to offer two Post Graduate program in Solar and Alternate energy for the engineering and sciences students with an objective to produce energy professionals, who are sensitive to, and well aware of, the energy issues and concerns, and who can apply their specialized knowledge for the sustainable energy management. The objective of the program is to produce graduates strong in energy resources, technologies and management fundamentals, and capable in addressing the present and potential future energy problems. A minor degree in Renewable Energy is offered to students of UG from different fields of Engineering, Sciences, management, commerce, communication etc to make students aware of the technology and its need. The students are exposed to the concept of energy efficient technology and to access conventionally used technology based on its energy efficiency.

CREATING AWARENESS AMONG YOUTH FOR FUTURE CAREER CHOICES

The induction and acceptance of Renewable energy requires social and economic transformation in the country. To begin with, generating awareness regarding the new technology, its utility and the financial implications require complete understanding of technology by the masses. Although an inexpensive energy source, such as this, is a boon for everyone, people are still sceptical about its convenience and uses.

Educational institutions can play a vital role in educating the masses directly by introducing courses in the area of renewable energy within the curriculum and also by conducting skill based training, road shows, workshops, conference, exhibitions etc.

Educational institutes can introduce courses in Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Wind Energy, Applications of RE for Domestic and Industrial usage, Power generation through RE, RE Project Management, Marketing and Finance to name a few. Students can also be given training in designing systems on software like PVSyst, PVSOL which will make them skilled in power generation/ industrial applications/ domestic applications etc. During curriculum designing, Smart Grids, Micro grids, Solar PV/T hybrid systems, Biofuels, advanced energy systems and Storage are some of the topics that need to be addressed for all practical purposes. Some advanced topics like Smart Grids, Micro grids, Solar PV/T hybrid systems, Biofuels, advanced energy systems, Large Scale Grid Integration and Storage can also be introduced in the curriculum for the students of PG. Thus, New and Renewable education will break out of monopoly of Science domain and will spread to other branches like management and humanities. It will also open a vista for research and innovation in the area of Renewable energy.