A power generation career is one of the most rewarding careers you can find. Power engineering is a branch of energy and electrical engineering that focuses on the generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization of electric power and allied accessories such as generators, motors, and transformers. A power engineer plans, designs, operates, renovates, and maintains various systems in electric power generation, minimizes transmission losses, and improves power distribution system efficiency. The job market for this type of engineer is strong and growing because the need for electricity continues to increase as more people use it. It means there will be a lot of opportunities in the future for those who want to enter this profession.
What Does a Power Generation Engineer Do?
Almost all industrial complexes and more significant commercial and public buildings have a support utility system that includes equipment that requires certified power engineers to operate. It could be as simple as a single boiler or as complex as a boilers system, electrical generators, steam and gas turbines, pressure vessels, refrigeration, and air conditioning. A power engineer may be in charge of all mechanical systems in a building, industrial power plant, or engine room and their maintenance, repair, and operation. A chief power engineer may supervise the work of assistant power engineers, boiler tenders, turbine operators, air-conditioning and refrigeration operators, mechanics, and other personnel. Auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, compressors, electrical generators, motors, steam turbines, gas turbines, heat exchangers, condensers, cooling towers, water treatment systems, and so on, also fall under the purview of practical responsibilities.
What Is the Workplace of a Power Engineer Like?
Power engineers work in a variety of industries. Schools, universities, hospitals, hotels, apartment buildings, shopping malls, airports, power generation stations/plants, mines, industrial and manufacturing plants, refineries, pulp mills, food production plants, breweries, co-generation plants, petrochemical plants, office and commercial buildings, government facilities, and other workplaces employ them. Power engineers typically work in shifts and may be required to work on weekends and holidays.
What Is the Job Growth in Power Generation Engineering?
The job growth for power generation engineering is 12%. The number of power engineers in the United States is currently estimated to be 35,700. Between 2016 and 2026. So if you are looking for a career with high stability and good prospects, power generation engineering is a great option. You will be responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining the equipment that generates electrical power in this field. You may also work on renewable energy projects like wind or solar farms.
How to Become a Power Generation Engineer?
One of the first things to consider if you want to become a Power Generation Engineer is how much education you’ll need. According to our findings, 65.8 percent of Power Generation Engineers hold a bachelor’s degree. In higher education, 8.2 percent of Power Generation Engineers have a master‘s degree.
You might find that previous work experience will help you become a Power Generation Engineer. Many Power Generation Engineer jobs require prior experience in a role such as Helper.
What Skills Do Power Generation Engineers Need?
A power engineer must possess specific characteristics to work as a power generation engineer, such as;1
• Excellent vision, hearing, and hand-eye coordination.
• Dexterity with one’s hands.
• Communication abilities, both verbal and written.
• Organizational and decision-making abilities are required.
• Reading and interpreting blueprints and other plant drawings.
• The ability to work safely and efficiently.
• The ability to collaborate with others in a team setting.
How Much Does a Power Generation Engineer Make?
Power Generation Engineers in the United States earn an annual salary of $83,561 or $40 per hour. The top 10% earn more than $140,000 per year, while the bottom 10% earn less than $49,000.
What Are the Potential Career Pathways in Power Engineering?
Power generation is an integral part of our everyday lives. The electricity that powers our homes, businesses, and factories come from power plants that generate power using various methods. Power engineers are responsible for designing and maintaining the power systems. There are several potential career pathways in power engineering, each with unique challenges and rewards.
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
Power Engineers use their domain knowledge and expertise to design systems that reduce power losses during generation, transmission, and distribution. They coordinate all project activities with clients and consultants.
Regular site coordination meetings are organized and led by site managers. They ensure that all planned activities are carried out and that preventative safety measures are enforced.
Data Analyst/ Diagnostic Engineer
Asset condition is defined by data analysts using a health index for all high, medium, and low voltage assets. They relate current conditions to performance forecast future conditions, performance, and life expectancy. They also assess the effects of failures in safety, network performance, sustainability, and finance.
Maintenance Managers monitor current systems and ensure that they are adequately maintained.
What are the Top Colleges for Power Generation Engineers?
Here are some of the best colleges where you can pursue a degree as a power generation engineer, as listed below.
Northwestern University is a private university in Cook County, Illinois. Econometrics & Quantitative Economics, Journalism, and General Psychology were the most popular Bachelor’s Degree concentrations at Northwestern University in 2016. Northwestern University conferred 8,794 degrees across all undergraduate and graduate programs.
Stanford University is a privately owned university that was founded in 1885. It has a total of 7,062 undergraduate admissions. Engineering, Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies, Social Sciences, Computer and Information Sciences and Help Services, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences are the most important courses at Stanford University.
Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, also known as Georgia Tech, is a government-funded research university and institute of technology. Georgia has a track record of producing the most engineers in the United States. Georgia Institute of Technology has been named the fourth most innovative school in the United States.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League private university. Penn is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top research universities, and it also offers highly regarded undergraduate programs in the liberal arts, business, engineering, and nursing.
Pennsylvania State University
Penn State University, also known as Penn State or PSU, is a public research university. Penn State is a highly regarded college frequently referred to as a Public Ivy League in the United States. Engineering and computer and information sciences are two of the most popular majors at Pennsylvania State University—University Park. Penn State is ranked 63rd among national universities.
Michigan Technological University
Michigan Technological University is a public university that was established in 1885. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,642 students (fall 2020), a rural setting, and a campus size of 925 acres. The academic calendar is semester-based. Michigan Technological University has ranked #148 in National Universities in the Best Colleges 2022 edition.
Cornell University has consistently outperformed other liberal arts colleges, emerging as one of the best institutions of its kind. Engineering, Business, Management, Marketing, Related Support Services, Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, and Biological and Biomedical Sciences are the most popular majors at Cornell University. At Cornell University, 48% of full-time undergraduates receive need-based financial aid, with the average need-based scholarship or grant-awarding $46,817.
Boston University, also known as BU, is a private, non-profit research university with over 35,000 students from over 130 countries. Boston University graduates are the most employable in the United States and the world, ranking fifth and sixth in both categories. Boston University’s popular majors include mechanical engineering, computer science, economics, international relations, psychology, communications, and business.
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the flagship institution of Nebraska‘s state university system, aims to make students economic and cultural drivers through teaching, research, and service. Business, Management, Marketing, Social Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts are the most popular majors at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is ranked #136 in the National Universities category.
What Are the Best Online Courses to Be as a Power Generation Engineer?
Here are some of the best online courses that can help you pursue a career as a power generation engineer.
Electrical Power Equipment
This course covers some fundamental topics required to understand how electrical power equipment is designed, operated, and installed. By the end of the course, you will understand all of the significant components of a power utility network and how they work together as a single, seamless system.
Data Center Essentials: Power & Electrical
This course delves deeper into electrical and power systems and the components that support data centers. You will go over terminology, standards, acronyms, operation, efficiency, and other aspects of the most common electrical systems and equipment used in data centers.
Diesel Engine Fundamentals (Mechanical Engineering)
The reciprocating piston engine is, without a doubt, the most influential machine ever invented by humanity. The piston engine has changed how we live, work, and travel since its humble beginnings as a steam engine. This course will teach you everything you need to know about this truly amazing machine.
Electric Circuits for Electrical Engineering and Electronics
This course is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of electric circuit analysis applied in electrical and electronics engineering. This course will teach you everything you need to know about electric circuits and electronics, from the fundamentals of electrical quantities like voltage, current, and power to complex techniques for analyzing electric and electronic circuits.
Electric Power Systems by Coursera
This course introduces the electric power system, from electricity generation to the wall plug. You will learn about the system’s segments and standard components such as power cables and transformers. This course is intended for individuals considering a career in the energy sector (who have a high school diploma or equivalent and basic knowledge of mathematics), as well as current energy sector employees with less than three years of experience who have not completed similar training and would benefit from a course of foundational industry concepts.
Renewable Power and Electricity Systems by Coursera-
This course provides a solid foundation in the fundamentals of renewable energy. They’ll begin by discussing how electricity is measured, how electricity systems work, and how renewable technologies such as wind turbines and solar PV work. They’ll then go over technical and market fundamentals, such as how and why renewables are driving change in global electricity systems, how electricity systems are changing to accommodate all of these new renewables, and what all of this means for those looking to understand and participate in the global transformation of electricity systems.
Introduction to Power Electronics by Coursera
This course covers the fundamentals of switched-mode converter circuits, which control and convert electrical power with high efficiency. The principles of converter circuit analysis are introduced, and methods for determining steady-state voltages, currents, and the efficiency of power converters are developed. Assignments include dc-dc converter simulation, inverting dc-dc converter analysis, and modeling and efficiency analysis of an electric vehicle system and a USB power regulator.
Energy ─ The Technology You Must Know in the 21st Century by EDX
This introductory course provides a broad overview of energy technology, emphasizing electric power generation. Before delving into the technical aspects of power generation, the environmental effects of excessive fossil fuel consumption, such as global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, and emissive pollutants, are discussed. Furthermore, strategies and challenges of energy security and social justice for resource-poor countries, such as Taiwan’s island region, will be highlighted.
Principles of Electric Circuits by EDX
This course’s main content includes linear and nonlinear resistive circuits, time-domain dynamic circuit analysis, and steady-state dynamic circuit analysis with sinusoidal excitations. Important concepts, such as filters, resonance, and the quiescent point, etc., cutting-edge elements, such as MOSFETs and Op-Amps, etc., and systematic analysis tools, such as the node method and the phasor method, etc.
Principles of Modeling, Simulations, and Control for Electric Energy Systems by EDX
In this course, you will learn about the systemic principles of future electric power system management, such as the role of intelligent grids, data-enabled machine learning, power electronics control, and data-driven decision-making. You will learn how energy technologies, including intermittent renewable energy technologies, can be modeled and controlled at both the component and system levels to achieve sustainable, well-functioning, and economically sound results.
Power generation is a good career path because it involves understanding and participating in the global transformation of electricity systems. It is a constantly evolving field, and there are many opportunities for career growth. The coursework is rigorous, but it is also gratifying.