Wind Energy Engineer

South Africa’s energy sector is largely fuelled by coal generated electricity. As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, it has to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To enable this shift, renewable energies are increasingly being explored. Wind energy in particular has high potential for electricity generation, particularly in the well positioned coastal areas of the Western and Eastern Cape. Wind energy engineering involves the process of designing and implementing wind farms for the production of clean electrical energy.

Wind energy engineers design, build and monitor wind turbines and wind farms. They analyse annual wind speed and direction data to determine the best location for a wind farm and design and develop the electrical systems, specifications and materials for wind technology components. They plan and oversee the installation of wind turbines and coordinate operations to meet engineering and environmental standards. They also analyse performance data and strategise to maximise operation costs and energy generation.

Wind energy engineers consult with climatologists, geophysicists and other engineering professionals on the development and running of a wind farm. They work in offices and research and development laboratories and travel to sites to oversee the construction and inspection of wind turbines and related processes.

Skills

Wind energy engineers require a solid understanding and experience in the practical application of electrical or mechanical engineering and aerodynamic principles. They will also benefit from:

  • Excellent analytical and logical reasoning competence
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Competence in popular engineering and design
  • Knowledge of current energy legislation and policies

Tasks

Advise on and design wind power stations and systems

Supervise, control and monitor the operation of electrical generation, transmission and distribution

Establish control standards and procedures to monitor performance and safety

Determine maintenance and repair of existing power generation systems

Studies

B.Eng. in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering at NWU, SU, UJ and UP

B.Sc.Eng. in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering at UCT, UKZN and Wits

B.Sc.Eng. in Aeronautical Engineering at Wits

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering at CPUT, CUT, DUT, MUT, UNISA, VUT and WSU

Employers

Wind energy providers.

Manufacturing companies.

Energy agencies, partnerships and consultancies.

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