The first offshore wind farm was built in 1991 near Vindeby, off the coast of Denmark. Today, we see them across the world, and offshore wind jobs are set to increase significantly over the next few years.
According to IRENA’s 2022 Annual Review of Renewable Energy and Jobs, global employment in onshore and offshore wind grew to 1.4 million jobs in 2021. This was up from 1.25 million in 2020. The report also reveals that the leader in offshore installations and technology development is Europe. However, other countries, most notably China, are rapidly developing their own capabilities and undertaking improvements in port infrastructure.
Offshore wind can deliver huge amounts of clean, renewable energy. Therefore, it has the potential to help many nations deliver on their carbon cutting promises.
Offshore Wind Jobs
A range of job roles are needed to service the many different components that make up an operational offshore wind farm. This includes the wind turbines themselves, offshore electricity substation, construction/cable laying vessel, vessels for crew transfer, maintenance and monitoring, operational headquarters, onshore electricity substation, port and dockside facilities, plus jack up barge. The job count increases further when you consider the other life cycle stages of a wind farm; scoping, development, installation and decommissioning/repowering.
Wind farms create construction and installation jobs around the world. Offshore wind farms require more labour than the onshore variety. This is due to increased complexity in the foundations, substations, undersea cables and installation vessels that are not needed onshore.
Here we take a look at some of the key jobs available in offshore wind.
Wind Turbine Technician
A Wind Turbine Technician will inspect and test the electrical components and systems that make up the turbines. Their role will involve climbing wind turbines, fault finding on electrical and mechanical equipment, providing accurate and detailed reports and carrying out risk assessments. It’s important that they adhere to all health and safety requirements and ensure timely completion of all maintenance schedules.
An Operations Supervisor will manage and oversee the smooth running of the wind farm. This involves ensuring all relevant health and safety processes are being followed, plus the efficiency of the operation and the requirements of engineering support.
Offshore Wind Energy Engineer
The role of an Offshore Wind Energy Engineer is to ensure the wind turbines, and associated cables, generators, substations and motors, are running as efficiently as possible. They will be involved in a huge range of tasks, including design and development of components, onsite testing and maintenance of various elements.
Wind Energy Analyst
The Wind Energy Analyst will collect and analyse data from the offshore wind farm to ascertain performance and make projections. The role involves using scientific knowledge and computer programs to evaluate current activity and measure production to aid future planning.
Offshore Wind Project Manager
The Project Manager for an offshore wind operation will ensure the overall timely completion of projects. They will oversee developments, create timelines, manage budgets and build teams. Consequently, their role involves a high level of planning and communication to execute the necessary actions.
Crane Operators take on the essential role of moving the bulky and heavy equipment and components associated with offshore wind farms. These individuals operate and inspect the machinery, cranes and hydraulic systems that lift wind turbine towers, rotors, generators and more.
Electrical Engineers are responsible for electrical systems and equipment that support the wind turbines. This includes the design and testing of systems, in addition to ensuring correct installations and maintaining compliant processes.
Mechanical Engineers are involved in the designing, building and testing of mechanical devices, such as, wind turbine rotors and components. In addition, they are responsible for implementing solutions to improve operations, supervising processes and conducting troubleshooting measures.
Further Information on Offshore Wind Jobs
There’s so many different routes into a career within the offshore wind sector. The handy career mapping tool from RenewableUK can help identify your ideal career path within offshore wind.