Wind energy project managers oversee the construction and development of wind farms. See if this is the right job for you.
Wind energy project managers oversee the construction of a wind farm from site selection to the final installation of wind turbines. Wind energy project manager jobs usually entail managing a diverse team, including engineers, construction workers, truck drivers, crane operators, and wind technicians. Wind energy project managers may also work very closely with wind energy engineers and wind energy operations managers.
Wind energy project managers primary responsibility is creating wind energy project plans, including project scope, goals, tasks, resources, schedules, costs, contingencies, or other project information. Before the construction is started, they prepare or assist in the preparation of applications for environmental, building, or other required permits. They develop scope of work for wind project functions, such as design, site assessment, environmental studies, surveying, or field support services. Wind energy project manager also prepare wind project documentation, including diagrams or layouts.
Wind energy project manager provide technical support for the design, construction, or commissioning of wind farm projects. During the construction phase, wind energy project managers coordinate and direct the development, energy assessment, engineering, or construction activities to ensure that wind project needs and objectives are met. They manage wind project costs to stay within budget limits. At the construction site, they monitor progress and perform inspections for quality control. They also review civil design, engineering, or construction technical documentation to ensure compliance with applicable government or industrial codes, standards, requirements, or regulations.
Wind energy project managers oversee the contracting process and manage various contractors and subcontractors. They review or evaluate proposals or bids to make recommendations regarding awarding of contracts. They provide verbal or written project status reports to project teams, management, subcontractors, customers, or owners. Because of the size and complexity of some wind farms, wind energy project managers may manage portions of the construction, such as site clearing, foundation construction, or tower erection. They are responsible for promoting a safe work environment and ensuring strict adherence to site safety policies.
Wind energy project managers split their time between the wind farm site and their office, which may be located onsite or offsite. Many are expected to travel frequently to wind farms located on or off-shore to oversee the wind farm development activities. Most wind energy project managers work a standard 40-hour week, but can expect occasional evening, weekend, and holiday work.
Most wind energy project managers hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in construction management, business management, or engineering. Advanced degrees, such as an MBA, are becoming more common. Wind energy project managers must have excellent attention to detail and be good at time and resource management.
Wind energy project managers usually have experience in construction, particularly wind farm construction and management or in engineering. They must be familiar with all aspects of wind farm development: from budgeting, site selection, site studies, and permitting processes and safety policies to construction and transportation of wind turbines. Most wind energy project managers have experience working on several wind farm projects before they are selected to manage one.
Because experience is so important for these green jobs, years of experience may substitute for some educational requirements. However, this is becoming increasingly rare, as projects grow more complex and employers place more emphasis on specialized education. New graduates from construction management or engineering programs may be hired as assistants to project managers to gain experience.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a bright outlook for wind energy project managers and expects employment of this field to grow about 9 percent from 2010 until 2020; slower than the average for all green jobs. The BLS projected 249,400 wind energy project managers job openings between 2010 and 2020, and noted 828,000 jobs are currently filled. Titles included Renewable Energy Project Manager, Wind Development Director, Wind Energy Project Manager, Wind Power Project Manager, and Wind Project Manager. The BLS further reports that the median annual wage for salaried wind energy project managers was $ 100,890 in 2012 with median hourly wage of $ 48.51. Wind energy project managers are usually employed by larger construction companies, energy companies, or land owners and work under contract or as salaried employees. Earnings for wind energy project managers of large projects vary with the size of the project, geographic location, and experience.