Wind Energy Project Managers
There are about 120,000 people employed in the wind energy industry, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Wind energy project managers work for large construction companies, energy companies, or land owners. They may work as employees or as independent contractors. Different areas of the United States are windier than others, which is why wind-related projects tend to be most concentrated in the Midwest, Southwest, and Northeast regions. The top five U.S. states by total installed wind capacity are Texas (30,904 MW), Iowa (10,799 MW), Oklahoma (8,173 MW), Kansas (6,512 MW), and California (5,871 MW).
Many wind energy project managers get their first jobs in the field as a result of contacts made through internships or part-time positions. They also learn about job openings via trade associations, industry publications, career fairs, networking events, or the services of their colleges’ career services offices. They find job listings by searching Web sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired, to name only a few. Useful information about careers in the renewable-energy industry can also be found at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Jobs Web page, https://www.energy.gov/eere/education/clean-energy-jobs-and-planning.
Wind energy project managers with several years of managing projects successfully advance to senior-level roles. They manage larger, more complex projects and oversee the work of more employees and subcontractors. They may leave full-time jobs to start their own consultancies. Project managers also advance by going back to school for a master's or doctoral degree. They grow their reputation in the field by increasing their participation in professional associations, such as by teaching workshops, speaking at conferences, and becoming committee and board members.
Tips for Entry
Get a part-time or summer job in a wind energy project management company. Find job listings on Web sites such as https://awea-jobs.careerwebsite.com/?navItemNumber=8205 and https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/renewable-energy-jobs.
Keep up with developments in the industry and follow wind energy professionals by using social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Join the American Wind Energy Association and other professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Learn more about wind energy trends and potential employers by reading publications such as Windpower Monthly (https://www.windpowermonthly.com) and Renewable Energy Magazine (https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com).