Hydroelectric power is generated by harnessing the energy of the water in dams or waterfalls, using hydraulic turbines to create electricity. Hydroelectric power is considered to be a clean, renewable source of energy, releasing a very low level of greenhouse gases when compared to fossil fuels. Costing far less to produce and operate than fossil fuel, it is a growing sector of the renewable energy industry.
Careers in the hydroelectric industry:
As with many of the other renewable energy technologies, the design, construction and maintenance of hydropower plants require electrical and mechanical engineers, technicians and skilled workers. If the hydropower project involves managing the reservoir and the surrounding land, the developer will also hire recreation planners and resource managers. In addition, laws now require current or prospective hydropower plant developers to assess the environmental effects of their operation. Thus, the hydropower industry will also employ environmental scientists (biologists, hydrologists, ecologists and wildlife habitat specialists, for example) to assess the environmental impact and to take into account and to address these issues.
The production of hydroelectric power involves a team of plant operators under the hydroelectric production manager who is responsible for managing the resources dedicated to the operation of power generating facilities. The objective of the team is to produce the maximum amount of electricity in the least possible time with minimum of breakdowns and other problems whilst also complying with all relevant safety procedures.
Some of the tasks of the production manager are to:
Schooling & School Subjects
Degree: BEng Electrical / Mechanical Engineering - most universities, e.g. Wits, UCT, UP etc
Diploma: Universities of technology, e.g. CPUT, DUT.
Candidates need to have all the relevant technical and managerial skills to carry out their responsibilities.
Hydroelectric power stations
Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA)
P O Box 868
Tel: (011) 789-1384 Fax: (011) 789-1385