Biomass power plant managers supervise biomass plants to transform biomass into renewable energy.
Biomass is one of the largest domestic sources of renewable electricity in the United States. It provides more than 10,000 MW of environmentally sustainable, reliable and economical power. Biomass consists of organic renewable materials such as forestry trimmings, wood processing residue, urban wood waste, and agricultural residues. Through the use of advanced combustion technology, biomass materials are burned in a fluidized-bed boiler under controlled, low emissions conditions to generate steam. This steam drives a turbine, which turns a generator that converts the power into electricity. Those with biomass power plant manager jobs manage the daily operations at biomass power plants to turn biomass into renewable energy.
A biomass power plant manager’s main responsibility is to supervise biomass plants and substation operations, maintenance, repair, or testing activities. They review logs, data sheets, or reports to ensure adequate production levels and safe production environments or to identify abnormalities with power production equipment or processes. Biomass power plant managers monitor the operating status of biomass plants by observing control system parameters, distributed control systems, switchboard gauges, dials, or other indicators. They also prepare reports on biomass plant operations, status, maintenance, and other information.
Those with biomass power plant manager jobs supervise employees in the production of power from biomass. They prepare and manage biomass plant budgets. They also manage parts and supply inventories for biomass plants. Biomass power plant managers plan and schedule plant activities such as wood, waste, or refuse fuel deliveries, ash removal, and regular maintenance. They evaluate power production or demand trends to identify opportunities for improved operations. They also inspect biomass gasification processes, equipment, and facilities for ways to maximize capacity and minimize operating costs.
Safety and regulation is an important aspect of a biomass power plant operation. Biomass power plant managers regularly need to review biomass operations performance specifications to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. They conduct field inspections of biomass plants, stations, or substations to ensure normal and safe operating conditions.
Most biomass power plant managers work in shifts, as plants operate around the clock. Work in a plant can be physically demanding because they may have to lift heavy objects and control large machinery. Biomass power plant managers must comply with company’s standard operating and safety procedures. They usually must wear safety equipment, such as gloves or goggles. Most biomass power plant managers work full time, and many work long hours. In some facilities, biomass power plant managers work night or weekend shifts and must be on call to deal with emergencies at any time of day.
To enter these green jobs as biomass power plant managers, it is often required a bachelor’s degree in a related science, engineering, or business administration. Many manager positions require between 1 and 5 years of work experience, while others may require up to 10 years of related experience. In addition, some employers want their managers to have previous experience as a supervisor. Most biomass power plant managers must complete company-specific training. Many managers opt to earn various certifications to show a higher level of competency in their field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a bright outlook for biomass power plant managers and expects employment of this field to grow from 3 to 9 percent from 2010 until 2020; slower than the average for all green jobs. The BLS projected 49,000 biomass power plant manager job openings between 2010 and 2020, and noted 150,000 jobs are currently filled. Titles included Fuel Manager, Maintenance Manager, Maintenance Supervisor, Operations Manager, Operations Supervisor, Operations and Maintenance Manager, Plant Manager, Production Supervisor, Production Support Manager, Production Support Supervisor. The BLS further reports that the median annual wage for salaried biomass power plant manager was $89,190 in 2012 with median hourly wage of $42.88. Wages and benefits vary by employer and geographic location.