Hydroelectric production managers manage operations at hydroelectric power generation facilities.
Hydroelectric power or hydropower is energy created by flowing water that is captured and turned into electricity. The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. Some hydroelectric power plants don’t require a large dam. They use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine.
Another type of hydroelectric power plant is called a pumped storage plant. The power is sent from a power grid into the electric generators. The generators then spin the turbines backward, which causes the turbines to pump water from a river or lower reservoir to an upper reservoir, where the power is stored. To use the power, the water is released from the upper reservoir back down into the river or lower reservoir. This spins the turbines forward, activating the generators to produce electricity.
Research and development in the field of hydropower are continuously done to improve the technical, societal, and environmental benefits. This research also helps to provide cost-competitive technologies enabling the development of new and incremental hydropower capacity, adding diversity to the U.S. renewable energy resources.
Those with hydroelectric production manager jobs main responsibility is to direct operations, maintenance, or repair of hydroelectric power facilities. They supervise or monitor hydroelectric facility operations to ensure that generation or mechanical equipment conform to applicable regulations or standards. Hydroelectric production managers check hydroelectric operations for compliance with prescribed operating limits, such as loads, voltages, temperatures, lines, or equipment. They also create or enforce hydroelectric station voltage schedules.
On a daily basis, those with hydroelectric production manager jobs inspect hydroelectric facilities, including switchyards, control houses, or relay houses, for normal operation or adherence to safety standards. They also identify and communicate power system emergencies. Hydroelectric production managers maintain records of hydroelectric facility operations, maintenance, or repairs. They also monitor or inspect hydroelectric equipment, such as hydro-turbines, generators, or control systems. They operate high-voltage or low-voltage hydroelectric power transmission system substations, according to procedures and safety requirements.
As part of their jobs, hydroelectric production managers develop or review budgets, annual plans, power contracts, power rates, standing operating procedures, power reviews, or engineering studies. They negotiate power generation contracts with other public or private utilities. They respond to problems related to ratepayers, water users, power users, government agencies, educational institutions, or other private or public power resource interests. The hydroelectric production managers also perform or direct preventive or corrective containment or cleanup to protect the environment.
As part of planning and development responsibility, hydroelectric production managers plan or coordinate hydroelectric production operations to meet customer requirements. They plan or manage hydroelectric plant upgrades. They supervise hydropower plant equipment installations, upgrades, or maintenance. Hydroelectric production managers develop or implement projects to improve efficiency, economy, or effectiveness of hydroelectric plant operations. They develop or implement policy evaluation procedures for hydroelectric generation activities. They also provide technical direction in the erection or commissioning of hydroelectric equipment or supporting electrical or mechanical systems.
Hydroelectric production managers generally work in offices, which often are located near hydroelectric power plants. They typically divide work time between their offices and hydroelectric power plants. Because of potential hazards at production areas, hydroelectric production managers must adhere to established health and safety practices and wear the required protective clothing and equipment.
Many hydroelectric production managers work more than 40 hours per week, in order to meet production deadlines. Some of these workers average more than 50 hours a week. In 24-hour plants, hydroelectric production managers often work late shifts and are on call to deal with emergencies. Dealing with production workers as well as superiors, when working under the pressure of production goals and deadlines, can be stressful.
To obtain a green job as a hydroelectric production manager, it is often require an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field and related work experience. Many earn a degree in engineering, hydrology, electrical science, industrial production, or business management. This prepares you to work with the various systems needed to manage hydroelectric power production. To work in this field it helps to have previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience as a hydroelectric plant technician. In general, employers prefer to hire people who have at least four years of related experience. It helps if you have some experience as a supervisor.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a bright outlook for hydroelectric production managers and expects employment of this field to grow about 1% percent from 2012 until 2022. The demand for hydroelectric production managers is expected to go up. The BLS projected 31,400 hydroelectric plant technician job openings between 2012 and 2022, and noted 173,000 jobs are currently filled. Titles include Chief Hydroelectric Station Operator, Hydroelectric Station Chief, Hydro Generation Manager or Hydro Plant Site Manager. The BLS further reports that the median annual wage for salaried hydroelectric production managers was $89,190 in 2012 with median hourly wage of $42.88. Across the US job market, the lowest 10% of hydroelectric production managers earned about $72,000 a year, and the top 10% earned about $108,000 a year. Hydroelectric production managers can receive the best compensation in Texas, where they earn compensation, on average, of about $114,090. People in this job function are compensated at the highest average salary in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, where they get average pay levels of $112,570.