Bob Dylan’s words so elegantly composed in a song encompasses it all- The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind. The wind energy sector is the way forward and opens a window of opportunities for both employers and employees holding more jobs promise than fossil fuels as the demand spreads worldwide. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) expects a market growth of 25 % by end of 2009 compared with last year. Over the past five years, 33 new jobs have been created everyday in wind power. By 2020, jobs in wind energy will be more than double from 154,000 to 325,000 by 2020.  The industry employs individuals from manufacturing and mechanics to project development. In 2007, the sector employed 154,000 people with 108,600 in direct jobs and the rest indirectly. The main employers are turbine manufacturers followed by component manufacturers and project developers. At present 75% of all direct wind energy jobs are to be found in Denmark, Germany and Spain. The Danish company, Vestas is the global leader in turbines and Spanish company, Iberdrola world’s largest wind-energy producer. However, other countries such as France, UK and Italy are making fast progress. Even large companies are now adding chief sustainability officers. Organisations such as Google pride itself with a 'green energy czar'.


Wind power is a form of kinetic energy that is used from the wind to generate electricity. It is abundant and a long term solution to many energy requirements.  Wind power is fuel free therefore the cost of producing wind energy throughout the 25 year lifetime of a wind turbine can be predicted with great certainty as the future prices of coal, oil or gas will affect the cost of wind power production. The wind industry has produced about 1.5% of worldwide electricity usage up from 0.1 % in 1997. In 2008, 3 % of all new capacity in the EU was from wind power, going beyond other technologies such as gas, coal and nuclear power. By implementing wind power it replaces fuel and carbon dioxide emissions. European companies have two thirds of the €35 billion global market for wind power technology.


The driving forces behind the wind industry growth are the continuous improvement in technology that has enabled dramatic reductions in the cost of wind power and secondly been governments’ support, mandates and policy. Wind energy has become such a strong driving force that Barack Obama is making $787 billion (€608 billion) available with $500 million going to workforce training for renewable and energy efficiency careers. Furthermore the EU’s Economic Recovery Plan is worth  an overall value of €5 billion, €3.98 billion is to go to energy projects up to 2010 and €565 million is to go to specific offshore wind projects, including the first stage of a North Sea offshore grid.   


Since 2009, 80 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis. Energy suppliers and investors are becoming increasingly involved as capital providers. The sector is doing well in attracting new sources of finance which are financed by institutional investors and from power company balance sheets instead of finance from banks to provide debt finance for projects. The wind power investments carry more economic certainty than other energy investments since investors are not exposed to unpredictable fuel and carbon prices. In addition the wind power is increasingly recognized as an important instrument in levelling-off the impact of today’s economic recession. Countries such as Germany, Denmark and Spain are becoming major users of wind energy. Interest in wind power is also growing in countries such as India and China, and Australia. The Global Wind Energy Council reports that China will add more wind power capacity in 2009 than any other country. It could add 10,000 megawatts (MW) of additional capacity in 2009. One megawatt can power about 1,000 households in the West.




Brief history about wind power


The earliest windmills dates back to 500-900 A.D which were built in Persia (known as Iran) used for water pumping and grain-grinding. Around 250 A.D the Romans began to use the same method. In Holland, many centuries later the basic design of the windmill was improved. To this day windmills in Holland are world renowned. After World War II there were oil shortages the Danish producers such as Vestas and Kuriant started to produce wind turbines. It marked the start of the development process of the modern wind power industry. After 2 years capacity ratings of the turbines went 20kW to 30 kW for every turbine.  


There are over 20,000 turbines producing electricity world-wide. The global wind market for turbine installations in 2008 was worth about €36.5bn or $47.5bn. The wind power sector generated a total of 440,000 jobs worldwide.






Leading markets in terms of new installed capacity in 2008


US has  overtaken Germany 23,902 MW as the number one in wind power



Wind energy installations totalled 25,170 MW

With California being the leading wind power producer in the US



End of 2008 China doubled its installed capacity by adding about 6.3 GW, reaching a total of 12.2 GW.





Jobs created


By end of 2008

150,000 employed


By end of 2008, 85,000 employed   


The European wind market is expected to have annual investments of €11 billion in 2010. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) a total of €180 billion is going to be invested worldwide in wind energy over the next five years. By 2020, wind power could be saving as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. The wind industry is expected to contribute towards delivering 12 to 14% of EU electrical demand within 12 years, with more than one-quarter of that coming from offshore wind. By 2030, the contribution of offshore wind alone is expected to reach close to 15% of total EU electrical production.




According to EWEA, 80,000 MW will be installed in the EU by the end of 2010 up from 48,000 MW in 2006. An annual average growth rate of over 20 % between 2006 and 2010 is expected from the UK, France, Portugal and Italy. The main growth markets until 2010 are Portugal, France and the UK. The diagram below illustrates the wind power installed in Europe at the end of 2008.

The EU's commitments to wind power


The EU's commitments to wind power have contributed to wind's progress.  In 2007, the European Council agreed on an "Energy Action Plan" that integrated climate and energy policy, including three goals which have become known as the "20-20-20 Plan”. The 27 EU states will each decide how they can contribute to meeting a 20% boost overall in renewable fuel use by 2020.


The EU plan involves:


  1. Increase energy efficiency by 20% across the EU
  2. Ban on incandescent bulbs with filaments in offices, street lights and private homes
  3. 10% minimum target on the use of bio-fuels in transport by 2020


By reaching 2020 target it would have annual investments in wind power of €16.9 billion. The legislation will provide confidence for investors in the renewable energy sector. Also a low carbon economy would boost Europe's competitiveness and encourage innovation.

It is believed the EU could offer to extend its 20% target for emissions cuts to 30% if other heavy polluters like the US, China and India come on board.


A report by the US Department of Energy outlined a plan to reach 20% wind power by 2030. However Asia seems likely to become the biggest market for new wind installations within five years.


European Commission’s blueprint for a North Sea offshore grid and Baltic interconnection known as the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP)

is a step towards a future European electricity grid in the Baltic region. The interconnection includes new lines between Finland and Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania, and Lithuania and Poland. It enables an interlinked internal electricity market. The BEMIP will expose the risk of coal and gas which will make wind the most cost-effective and low-risk power source because it avoids fuel price volatility.


China's commitments to wind power


The Chinese government gives strong support to wind power to help build up industry with its Renewable Energy Law and its incentive policies. By 2020, China plans to have 30 gigawatts of wind power. “National Middle and Large Term Development Plan” is an incentive policy by the government to further encourage the development of wind power. According to the plan, by 2010, China’s installed capacity of wind power will reach 5 gigawatts. By 2020 the government plans to achieve 30 gigawatts. For this plan to be successful China needs to build 800 megawatts of new wind power capacity each year from 2006 to 2010. By 2020, the total investment in alternative energy could exceed two trillion yuan ($290bn).

There are 80 wind farms already operating in China, with plans for three more. Furthermore the government has approved for two wind farm projects in Gansu and Guangdong provinces totalling 221MW in capacity. Finally Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group plan to build a wind farm in Shandong province.


India's commitments to wind power


India is the world's fifth largest wind power producer. The Indian Wind Energy Association estimates that the country has 65,000 MW of wind power potential. At present it produces more than 3,000 MW of wind energy annually. Indigenously developed wind power technologies are another great achievement of the country in this field. Nearly 80 % indigenisation has been achieved.


 According to the World Bank, roughly 40 % of people in India have no electricity and blackouts are a common occurrence. The government has established a plan “Power for All by 2012” that will require the country’s installed generation capacity to grow from 140,000 MW to 225,000 MW by 2012. It will require billions of dollars of investment in India’s transmission and distribution infrastructure. Besides government promoted projects, private investors/developers have set up a number of commercial wind power projects in the recent years. General Electric plans to set up a wind turbine manufacturing plant in India. The plant will have a capacity to produce 300 turbines 450 MW annually.


Tamil Nadu possesses 72% of the commercial plants in the country and has a total capacity of 1685 MW. However, Gujarat, which has the greatest gross potential 9675 MW, has only the total capacity of 218 MW. Therefore it is important time for government and investors to be involved with wind energy and y capitalize on the opportunities available.

Wind Energy’s Economic Benefits


Wind energy offers economic benefits which make it even more competitive in the long term. It can give a huge boost to economic welfare, offering greater energy independence. The economic benefits can be subdivided into the following carbon dioxide emissions, costs, abundant source, create jobs, property revenues, used in a variety of applications and reduce risk.


Carbon Dioxide emissions

Using wind power reduces carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gas emissions, which contributes to climate change. It reduces environmental impacts per unit of energy produced, compared with conventional power plants. Global warming is believed to be the caused by the "greenhouse effect." Greenhouse gases, such as CO2 is produced when fossil fuels like coal and natural gas are burned to generate electricity. Wind power reduces CO2 emissions. The only greenhouse gases that it produces are in the creation and installation of the actual wind turbine, which are offset after about 9 months of operation. It does not require mining, drilling or transportation of any fuel. Therefore it saves limited resources of fossil fuels on Earth.

Renewable energy sources currently provide nearly 5.4% of the European Union's primary energy needs and have the potential to provide much more. It is a viable alternative to fossil fuels because it is not subject to rapid price fluctuations and supply problems.



The operational costs of wind energy are relatively low and it has benefited from recent technological advances in the aeronautics industry. It is also better for a nation to have a balanced range of energy technology, rather than relying on one or two technologies or imported fuel.  The UK and Germany have a relatively diverse mix of fuels, whereas others countries such as Spain and Greece are more dependent on oil, Denmark, coal and France and Belgium nuclear.


Abundant source

Wind energy is inexhaustible and infinitely renewable. Unlike conventional fossil fuels, wind energy is renewable, abundant energy that will be available for future generations even if the wind may slow down it will never stop blowing as long as there is a sun. Also wind turbines do not consume water like other electricity generation. Conventional plants generating power from fossil fuels use large amounts of water for cooling. Therefore makes wind energy a great choice for drought-stricken communities.



Create jobs

More jobs per unit of energy produced than other forms of energy. Wind power creates high-quality jobs which increase business and household income. It creates about one to two jobs per turbine during construction, and about 6 to 20 permanent jobs for operating and maintaining every 100 MW of installed generating capacity.

It brings needed jobs to rural communities and sustains farm incomes against bad weather. Building wind plants creates job opportunities and new workplaces in the community. Furthermore, money for the investment is spent locally i.e. servicing during construction and after the turbines are set. Thus, help economic growth in a local region. Wind power investments tend to improve local infrastructure like roads and power. In the 21st century wind industry is likely to be one of the main sources of new jobs that could create 1.7 million jobs worldwide by the year 2020.


Tourism and retail economies benefit from wind power as well, both from construction workers who spend their earnings on housing, restaurants and local goods and from out-of-town visitors to wind facilities.


Property Revenues

The wind turbines can be placed in areas such as farmland. Wind turbines occupy little amount of space and may easily coexist with agriculture and can provide long-term income to farmers who own the land on which wind farms are built. Wind power developments can be a source of revenue for landowners in rural areas. Each MW of turbine capacity generally requires 25 to 50 acres, the landowner usually loses the use of about two to four percent of these acres. Landowners’ payments are often a percentage of the gross revenues of the wind project, usually between 1 and 3 %.


Used in a variety of applications

Small wind turbines can power homes and businesses. Wind energy is ideal for applications such as water pumping. Community wind projects include projects for schools and rural electric cooperatives.


Reduce risk

Most countries have sizeable wind power potential than they have fossil fuel reserves. The small unit size of each individual wind turbine reduces the risk of technical failure or industrial action compared with larger generating units. Wind energy systems on islands can be linked to diesel or solar systems to provide back-up when the wind is not blowing.


European wind schemes are normally in clusters of around 10 to 40 turbines, providing enough electricity for 4,000 to 16,000 households. Some countries such as Denmark and Germany also have a high proportion of single turbines. The electricity produced by these can be fed directly into the local distribution network, reducing power transmission losses.


Wind power     


Wind power is a type of solar energy. The sun heats and cools the atmosphere and the earth and this heating and cooling causes wind.  A wind turbine converts the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power. It uses rotor blades to gather wind that flows over it. The blades generate lift from the passing wind, causing them to rotate the hub of the turbine. A gearbox is necessary to optimize the power output from the machine. Electricity from these turbines is then fed into a utility grid and distributed to customers.


A challenge using wind as a source of power is when the wind stops blowing. Wind can not be stored therefore electricity has to be provided by other forms of generation, such as gas power plants which is fortunately made possible by generation planning and the interconnection of power plants through the national grid.

Types of wind turbines


There are two basic types of wind turbines, the horizontal-axis variety and the vertical-axis design. Horizontal-axis wind turbines are like the traditional farm windmills used for pumping water typically either have two or three blades. These three-bladed wind turbines are operated "upwind," with the blades facing into the wind.



Wind farm

Wind turbines are often grouped together into a single wind power plant known as a wind farm and generate electrical power. There are different spacing requirements for different types for turbines therefore the amount of space required by a wind farm depends on the number and type of turbine being used.




Electricity produced


Wind turbines generate electricity for approximately 80% of the time, although not always at full output. The proportion of time that a wind turbine is generating below maximum output depends on the average wind speed at the site. To start generating electricity a wind turbine needs wind speeds of around 16 Kilometres per hour (kmh). Models are now being produced that can generate electricity with as little as 5 mile per hour wind speeds. Hilltops and tall towers lead to greater energy production. Wind speed usually increases with height and where there are no natural or man-made obstructions. The stronger the wind is the better it is to produce electricity. The blades of a wind turbine rotate at a rate of between 10 to 50 revolutions per minute. Wind turbines are often found in wind farms. Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas is the world's largest wind farm with 421 wind turbines that generate enough electricity to power 220,000 homes per year.


Wind turbines are available in a variety of sizes, and therefore power ratings. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), 1 megawatt of wind-generated power can supply electricity to approximately 240 to 300 households per year. Typical commercial wind facilities are 1.5 MW. The best location for commercial wind farms must be near existing power lines and in the windiest sites available. Wind turbines are best located in areas where wind speeds are 16-20 mph at 50 m height. Wind farms are located in the windiest areas and close to utility power lines.


If wind speeds are excessive, for example if there's a gale, the turbine automatically shuts down to prevent damage. The lifespan of a modern turbine is around 120,000 hours or 20 to 25 years.

















Major users of wind power


Countries such as US, Germany, Spain and China are becoming major users of wind energy. Interest in wind power is also growing in countries such as India and Australia. The diagram illustrates where the turbines are installed by the largest markets at end of 2008.


More than 10% of the electricity consumed in some regions of Denmark, Spain, German or Sweden represents onshore wind energy. However the offshore wind currently accounts for 1 % of the total installed wind power capacity in the world.

Offshore wind is seen as more important than onshore with the highest goals on renewable energy production based on offshore wind systems. Offshore turbines have higher and more constant wind speeds and higher efficiencies. The development of offshore wind has mainly been in northern European counties, around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, where about 20 projects have been implemented. At the end of 2008, 1,471 MW of capacity was located offshore. The Horns Rev is the largest completed offshore project in the world. The early projects were small scale and shallow waters until Blyth Offshore started to be implemented.


New technology breakthrough


In 2006, Chinese developers made a key breakthrough in the evolution of global wind power technology with its device called a MagLev generator; it had produced the world’s first permanent magnetic levitation wind power generator. The MagLev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines. Also the generator is expected to lower operational expenses of wind farms by as much as 50 %.


This year the French aerospace companies EADS Astrium and EADS Composite Aquitaine entered into the wind industry. They will bring their advanced capabilities in the fields of engineering, manufacturing, testing and control into wind industry.

In February 2009, Vestas a Danish manufacturer announced two new models; a new 3 MW V112-3.0MW and a V100-1.8MW turbine. Wind industry experts believe that the V112-3.0MW might in time replace the current Vestas V90-3.0MW. The rotor swept area of V112-3.0MW has increased by 55%, while the power rating has remained same.


Global Wind Power (GWP) of India plans to build a turbine named GWP-82-2000kW in the Netherlands developed by Dutch wind pioneer Henk Lagerwey and his design team. The calculated cut-in wind speed is 2.7 m/s and the rated power level is reached at 12.5 m/s.



Micro-generation is an approach taking by individuals of production power in a manner that does not involve carbon costs by using renewable energy. It is energy efficiency and is a very effective direct means of reducing the household carbon footprint. There are a number of micro-generation technologies which qualify for government grants towards their installation cost.  Micro-generation technologies include air source heat pumps, bio-energy this form of renewable energy is generated from biomass, ground source heat pumps, solar photo-voltaic “PV”, solar thermal hot water and wind turbines.

Wind power costs


Wind energy is one of the cheapest of the renewable energy technologies. It can easily compete with coal or gas power stations and cheaper than new nuclear power. Wind costs are much more competitive with other generating technologies because there is no fuel to purchase and minimal operating expenses. The capital cost of wind turbines has been falling over the past 20 years due to manufacturing techniques being optimised and to economies of scale from mass production.

There is a high share of costs paid upfront compared with the total cost of the project over its whole lifetime. The conventional electricity production options with the fluctuating and uncertain nature of fuel costs form a key component.


Turbine prices are most important factor affecting generation costs. A turbine’s total costs average 75% while grid connection accounts for 9% and the foundation for 7%. Operation and maintenance (O&M) costs have an average share over the lifetime of the turbine of about 20% to 25% of total cost per kWh produced.


The total investment cost of an average 2 MW wind turbine installed in Europe is about €1.23 million/MW.


The financial crisis caused raw material prices to come down, further bringing down turbine prices. Since late 2008, global turbine prices have dropped by 18 per cent for turbines to be delivered in the first half of 2010 according to a press release from New Energy Finance. According to EWEA, a coastal position for the average generation

costs have decreased from around 9.2 c€/kWh for the 95 kW turbine (mid 1980s typical turbine) to about 5.3 c€/kWh for a new 2,000 kW machine, an improvement of more than 40% over 20 years.


The overall wind power production efficiency has increased by 2 to 3% annually over the last 15 years. In 2005, the world's installed wind power generation capacity increased by 43 % to 60,000 MW. Nearly 70 % of it is in Europe and less than 20 % is in North America. Wind projects are being built in the US with energy costs ranging from 3.9 cents per kilowatt-hour to 5 cents or more. These costs are competitive with the direct operating costs of many conventional forms of electricity generation now and prices are expected to drop even further over the next 10 years.


Even though the cost of wind power has decreased dramatically in the past 10 years, the technology requires a higher initial investment than fossil-fuelled generators.   Roughly 80% of the cost is the machinery, with the balance being the site preparation and installation.  Offshore wind capacity is still around 50% more expensive than onshore wind. However, due to the expected benefits of higher wind speeds and the lower visual impact of the larger turbines the EU have made plans and goals concerning offshore wind.

Investments in wind energy


Many commercial wind farms have been funded through project financing, a loan backed by the cash flow of a project. However new forms of financing have arisen such as renewable energy funds and pension funds as well as individuals seeking efficient investment. There has been a move towards bigger utility-owned projects bringing more money to the industry and decreasing dependence on banks for initial funding.


In 2005, US companies spent $3 billion on 2300 megawatts of new wind energy capacity, bringing its total to 9149 megawatts. Countries such as India are growing fast in the wind power industry ranking fourth in the wind-energy having overtaken Denmark. China plans to build 5000 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2010.



Expected annual wind power investments from 2000 to 2030

The figures are based on the European Wind Energy Association’s scenarios up to 2030. It is expected that up to 2015, the market will stable at around €10 billion/year and gradually increasing share of investments going to offshore. EWEA expects by 2020, the annual market for wind power capacity will have grown to €17 billion annually with approximately half of investments going to offshore. Lastly by 2030, annual wind energy investments in EU-27 will reach almost €20 billion with 60% of investments offshore.


Jobs in the Wind Industry


The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEI) reports that one million people will be employed in the world wind-power industry by the end of the decade. There are 400,000 people working in the wind power sector worldwide. The US emerged the strongest market in the world at end of 2008 with approximately 8000 to 9000 MW of newly installed capacity with a total installed capacity of 25 GW, the US has overtaken Germany 24 GW as number one in wind power. 35,000 new jobs were created in US giving a total of 85,000 employed in the sector by end of 2008.


Asian markets are growing with a third of all new capacity in 2008 installed on the Asian continent. The wind power is growing rapidly in China, which had doubled its installed capacity to 12 GW.


The EU wind energy industry has created more than 60,000 new jobs. In 2007, the EU wind energy sector directly employed 108,600 people in 2007 and a further 42,700 people were indirectly employed. By the end of the 2008, a total of 160,000 workers were employed directly and indirectly in the sector, which saw investments of about €11 billion in the EU. Three-quarters of the jobs in the sector are in Denmark, Germany and Spain. There are regions within these countries that are especially advanced in wind energy installation have an even higher than average concentration of jobs, cities such as Nakskov and Esbjerg in Denmark, the region of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and the region of Navarre in Spain.


By the end of the 2008, a total of 160,000 workers were employed directly and indirectly in the sector, which saw investments of about €11 billion in the EU.


The main employers in the wind energy sector


At the end of 2008, the US had 25,100 MW of wind energy capacity exceeding Germany to become the world's leading wind energy market.


Key Players in the U.S. Wind Industry

GE Energy




Mitsubishi Heavy Industries


Clipper Windpower




Top 10 wind turbine manufacturers by megawatts installed worldwide in 2007

Vestas (Denmark)                        4,500 MW

GE Energy (US)                          3,300 MW

Gamesa (Spain)                           3,050 MW

Enercon (Germany)                     2,700 MW

Suzlon (India)                              2,000 MW

Siemens (Denmark / Germany)   1,400 MW

Acciona (Spain)                           870 MW

Goldwind (China)                        830 MW

Nordex   (Germany)                    670 MW

Sinovel (China - PRC)                670 MW

The table below shows the direct employment from wind energy companies in

European countries.



Direct employment from

wind energy companies in

European countries

Country No. of direct jobs

Austria                      700

Belgium                     2,000

Bulgaria                     100

Czech Republic         100

Denmark                    23,500

Finland                      800

France                       7,000

Germany                   38,000

Greece                       1,800

Hungary                    100

Ireland                       1,500

Italy                           2,500

Netherlands               2,000

Poland                       800

Portugal                     800

Spain                         20,500

Sweden                     2,000

United Kingdom      4,000

Rest of EU                400

TOTAL                    108,600


Sources: EWEA survey; ADEME, 2008; AEE,

2008a; DWIA, 2008; Federal Ministry of the

Environment in Germany, BMU 2008.




Shortage of workers


Wind energy companies claim there is a shortage of workers within certain fields. From 2000 to 2007, wind energy installations in the EU increased by 339%. Thus leading to many job offers in all the sub-sectors, especially in manufacturing and development activities but there was a shortage of workers. Manufacturers state that there is a shortage in engineers, O&M and site management activities.




Shortage of workers in each sub- sectors



Wind energy promoters need more project managers. These are professionals responsible for getting the permits in the country where the wind farm is going to be installed. The position requires a specific knowledge of the country in question, wind energy expertise and negotiating skills.


Financiers or sales managers can occasionally be hard to find but in general are

less of a problem for wind energy companies


Engineers, operations and maintenance technicians fill existing or future positions


 The shortage of workers in the wind sector is so dire that wind energy companies have made donations to schools and colleges. For example, Columbia Gorge Community College in the US have received donations for more than $1 million from companies such as PGE, Vestas, Iberdrola Renewables over the past three years in cash, equipment, scholarships, staff time and technical assistance. The school also received a $1.7 million U.S. Labour Department grant. These skilled workers could earn $22 to $33 an hour depending on experience but the shortage still needs to be met.






The table below outlines job positions that are required in the wind sector.



Job positions required in the wind sector




Manufacturers such as wind turbine producers, including major subcomponent

and assembly factories


Chemical, electrical, mechanical and materials

engineers dealing with R&D issues, product design, management

and quality control of production process


Semi-skilled and non skilled workers for production chains


Health and safety experts


Technical staff for O&M and repairing wind turbines


Other support staff (admin., sales managers, marketing, accounting,



Developers Managing all the tasks related to the development of wind farms (planning, permits, construction)


Project managers (engineers, economists) to co-ordinate the



Environmental engineers and other specialists to analyse the

environmental impacts of the wind farms


Programmers and meteorologists for wind energy forecasts and

prediction models


Lawyers and economists to deal with the legal and financial aspects

of project development


Construction, repair and O&M Building the wind farm, regular inspection and

repair activities

Ways to enter the wind energy sector


From the table above it is clear that there are opportunities that can be gained from skill shortage in the sector. Firstly choose an area in the sector which excites you whether manufacturing or finances. Then meet people that work in that area. After identifying what they do a course.


In Britain and in the US demand is growing within the private sector for climate expertise and for scientists. New courses in colleges are being developed to meet the demand from industry for experts in everything from product sustainability to carbon trading and carbon neutrality. For instance the University of Edinburgh and the University of East Anglia, UK developed a MSc in carbon management, a one-year masters programme in 2008. The core courses are in carbon trading, the carbon cycle, carbon legislation, and climate change impacts and adaptation. They will have opportunities to specialize in areas from risk analysis to economics of the energy industry.


Lastly volunteer to do an internship and take advantage of professional organizations to enhance your knowledge of the sector.


According to EWEA wind energy employment in the EU will more than double from 154,000 in 2007 to almost 330,000 in 2020. Onshore wind energy will continue to be the largest contributor to employment throughout the period. By 2025, offshore wind energy employment will exceed onshore employment. By 2030, more than 375,000 people will be employed in the European wind energy sector 160,000 onshore and

215,000 offshore.

Solar Industries



In the last decade, governments worldwide, in their attempts to find alternatives to fossil fuels and to gain energy security and independence, have begun to invest heavily in alternative power sources. Along with wind energy, solar energy is probably the most widely known alternative power source available to humans. Solar energy has the potential to power the world. In 2009, the total power needs for the human race were approximately 16 terawatts. In 2020, this will rise to 20 terawatts. The sunlight that shines on the landmass of the earth is 120,000 terawatts.

            For the last half-century, solar power has always been seen as the power source of the future, but it is now finally becoming the power source of the present. People all over the world are installing solar panels on their homes. Governments are providing subsidies for such endeavours and linking solar collecting farms into national grids. Several countries, Germany and Spain in particular, are at the forefront of solar technology, especially the research and development side of things. However, anywhere the sun shines there is business potential for this new energy sector. In the USA, the current administration has been very vocal in its support of creating jobs in the solar industry and China is pushing a solar energy agenda.


History and explanation of solar energy

There are two ways to harness solar energy: photovoltaics (converting light to electricity) and solar thermal (heating and cooling systems). A subgroup of this is concentrated solar power which can be used to produce both thermal and photovoltaic power.

            Until recently, solar power has proven to be mostly ephemeral. The ancient Greeks and Romans exploited passive solar designs — the use of architecture to make use of the sun’s capacity to light and heat indoor spaces. Romans advanced the art by covering south facing building openings with glass or mica to hold in the heat of the winter sun. Through the use of the sun’s energy, Greeks and Romans offset the need to burn wood that was often in short supply. Even today we build houses and buildings with the reception of sunlight in mind. Green houses are built with the intention of trapping sunlight for heat.

            Archimedes, the ancient Greek polymath seems to have invented the concept of concentrated solar energy. In order to defend the city of Syracuse from attack by sea, he is said to have created a device that concentrated sunrays and reflected them at attacking ships, causing them to go on fire. While the existence of this device has recently been disproved, the concept inspired others to put it into reality using modern technology. Besides these few examples from the ancient world, exploiting the power of the sun only became viable during the industrial revolution.



A photovoltaic system converts light directly into electricity at the atomic level. Some substances exhibit a photoelectric effect, allowing them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. These free electrons can be captured, creating an electric current.

The photoelectric effect was discovered by French physicist, Edmund Bequerel, in 1839. He found that certain materials would produce small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. In 1905, Albert Einstein elaborated on this further when theorizing on Brownian movement. He founded a kinetic theory that accounted for the nature of light and the photoelectric effect on which photovoltaic technology is based.

            However, it was only in 1954 that the first photovoltaic module was built by Bell Laboratories. It was billed as a solar battery but was too expensive to be put into general use and remained a curiosity. It was the space industry in the 1960s that pushed photovoltaics to the next stage. Serious efforts were made to use the technology to provide power aboard spacecraft. Through the space programs, the technology advanced, its reliability was established, and the cost began to de


Water is an important natural resource for all sectors of industry and vital source of energy. It is considered a more high value added business than oil industry. As a resource it is used to grow crops, hygiene purposes, create jobs and reduce infant mortality. In addition is it used as drinking water, boiler water, process water, cooling water and wash water. The world’s water industry is believed to grow 5 to 6 % every year and at present accounts for 15% of investment costs.


The industry comprises of a different water-related businesses such as sewage treatment systems, saltwater conversion and bottled water manufacturing. The water processing is 80 % made up by sewage treatment systems. Manufacturers of water-related facilities, chemicals and technologies are part of water businesses. The bottled water manufacturing has positioned itself as a lucrative resource with some brands same price as soft drinks. The industry is dominated by a small number of businesses from developed countries. The world’s top water companies include Veolia in France, RWE in Germany and Agbar in Spain. The 10 largest water users India, China, the U.S., Pakistan, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico and the Russian Federation.


Scarcity and contamination are threatening water sources. The United Nations claims that only 0.008 % of the earth's water is available for human consumption with most freshwater in glaciers or deep underground. Furthermore across the world 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking with 5 million people dying of water-related diseases every year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease, 43% to diarrhoea and 84% are children between ages 0 - 14. By 2025, 2.7 billion people in the world may lack access to clean drinking water.


After reading about the challenges why would one want to work in the water industry? The water industry is almost recession proof, people need its services in good or bad economic times. People and agricultural environments will always

need water and the infrastructure involved in the collection, treatment, distribution, and recycling of water. The industry needs excellent people to provide lasting and beneficial environment to humanity. A sustainable water industry can be achieved through efficient provision of water and wastewater services. For instance in 2008, Israel's water industry was estimated at 1.4 billion dollars and there is much anticipation that half of the industry leaders will increase their sales this year. The companies are using inexpensive technologies leading to substantial water-saving solutions, waste minimization and the utilization of drainage water and sewage effluents.


Environmental impact and supply of water power


Water has always been an important resource to humanity so much that the earliest settled communities built there settlements near water. As early as 2500 BC brick-lined wells were built by city dwellers in the Indus River basin and wells 500 metres deep have been used in ancient China. Qanats (sloping tunnels built in hillsides that contained groundwater) originated in north-western Persia. The growth of cities was due to the need to channel water supplies from distant sources.


The most impressive ancient water conveyance systems are the aqueducts built between 312 BC and 455 AD throughout the Roman Empire. In early 19th century the steam engine was first applied to water pumping operations making it possible for all but the smallest communities to have drinking water supplied directly to individual homes. Urbanization, population growth and industrial development are increasing demands on existing infrastructure. In the 20th century asbestos cement, ductile iron, reinforced concrete, and steel came into use as materials for water supply pipelines.


The two important sources for community water supply needs are surface water and groundwater. Groundwater is a common source for homes and towns. Rivers and lakes are the usual sources for large cities although 98 % of fresh water exists as groundwater, much of it can be found very deep in the Earth. This makes pumping very expensive, preventing the full development and use of all groundwater resources. Municipal water supply systems include facilities for storage, transmission, treatment, and distribution. The design of these facilities depends on the quality of the water, on the particular needs of the user and on the quantities of water that must be processed.


WHO estimates that 1.1 billion people across the world has no access to clean water supplies and that 2.4 billion lack access to basic sanitation. The diagram below depicts that 96 % of the world’s water is found in the oceans and is saline. The rest of the water is in icecaps and glaciers and earth’s atmosphere. Ground water, fresh water lakes, and rivers account for just over 2 million cubic miles of fresh water which means that 99.7% of all the water on earth is not available for human and animal consumption.


The major shortages of water already occur in developed countries such as the south-western U. S., southern Australia, Mediterranean Europe and south-western Africa. Countries such as U.S., China, and India have diverted the flow of water from regions where it is plentiful to where it is scarce. This method provides some short-term relief for cities but do not appear practical as long-term solution to be able to meet agricultural needs. 


Two rapidly developing solutions for alternative supply include are desalination and water reuse. As 97 % of the earth’s water is seawater, desalination provides a viable

solution to the problem of water scarcity. Wastewater that has been treated to near drinking water standards can be used for non-potable uses such as irrigation, industrial processes and replenishing of ground water. This decreases the pressure on the finite supply of fresh water.


Safe drinking water and basic sanitation is important to the preservation of human health. In addition to quantity of supply, water quality is also of concern.  

Engineers have been prime providers meeting the water supply and quality needs from digging wells to building dams. Water-related diseases are the most common cause of illness and death among the poor of developing countries. According to WHO the benefits would include an average global reduction of 10 % in diarrheal episodes. $7.3 billion per year of health-related costs avoided and the annual global value of adult working days gained because of less illness would rise to almost $750 million. The availability of water can be used to start or expand small enterprises and thus increase disposable household income. In addition the installation of piped water supply in houses and closer to businesses yield significant time savings.



Developments in water treatment


At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the main goal was to eliminate pathogenic, or disease-causing, microorganisms from drinking water.

Treatment methods included sand filtration and the use of chlorine for disinfection.

Diseases such as cholera and typhoid in developed countries were eliminated because of successful water treatment technology. Waterborne disease is still main quality concern in developing countries. However in industrialized nations the main concern is the chronic health effects related to chemical contamination. Drinking water standards are adding more factors to reduce health risk when trace amounts of certain synthetic organic substances in drinking water are suspected of causing cancer in humans.


Water and climate change


Climate change and water shortages are the main challenges facing the water industry. Everything from the security of water supplies to food production is threatened. It is widely accepted that the climate is changing because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change also makes places at high latitudes warmer and wetter thus causes problems such as flooding, loss of life and property, failure of sewers and disruption of water supply systems.


Global warming affects water sources in three general ways changes in annual rainfall, sea levels rise and decreased raw water quality. These changes can affect a country’s water infrastructure. For instance buried pipes become more prone to cracking as a result of greater soil movement due to flooding and droughts. This results in leaking pipes, which causes unnecessary water loss while compromising water quality.


The consequent warming of the climate and intensification of the hydrological cycle could lead to heavier rainfall events throughout the world. More extreme rainfall events could lead to increased surface water turbidity and higher numbers of bacteria and pathogens in surface water. This would create a greater challenge for water treatment works, particularly where direct river abstraction is used.


The diminishing of water availability is probably the most severe problem for public water utilities Water shortages cause many problems from the interruption to power supplies to crop failures in agriculture. Climate change is having a profound effect on how communities can reliably access clean water. As a result of climate change, there are likely to be extreme periods of hot weather in south and south east Europe, whereas in northern Europe serious flooding is expected.




The water quality standards and environmental standards relating to wastewater are usually set by national bodies and the Environment Agency. In the U.S. drinking water standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the EU water-related directives are important for water resource management and environmental and water quality standards. Water Framework Directive (WFD) and other legislations influence the EU water industry. The main aim of the WFD is to enable the EU to achieve a good status for its waters by 2015 with specific targets to be achieved by specific dates. The WFD requires the establishment of two primary monitoring programmes, the Surveillance Monitoring (SM) and the Operational Monitoring (OM) networks for surface waters and groundwater.


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world's main development challenges. The MDGs are drawn from the actions and targets contained in. The eight MDGs break down are as follows:





Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger


Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education


Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women


Goal 4: Reduce child mortality


Goal 5: Improve maternal health


Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases


Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability


Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development


WHO found that achieving the MDG goal 7 would enable economic gains for each $1 invested would yield an economic return of between $3 and $34 depending on the region. 


The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Water Partnership (EWP) are co operating with one another to improve water use in Europe. They plan to develop a vision for sustainable water, raise awareness and strengthen information flows. Furthermore they will further cooperate on the implementation of the vision for water in a sustainable Europe, launched in June 2008. As a part of its next "European Environment State and Outlook Report" (SOER) due to be released in late 2010.


While the effects of climate change are being felt today, trends are likely continue if we do not adjust our approach. Find solutions to maintain high water quality while conserving existing sources.




















Third Paragraph



Most of the water industry is owned and administered by local government. However there are a variety of organizational structures for the water industry. The usual structure would be national government in many developing countries. In England and Wales water supply is privately owned and co operative ownership usually exists for NGO structures.


Water Distribution System

A water distribution system comprises of pumps, pipelines and storage tanks. It delivers quantities of water at pressures sufficient for operating plumbing fixtures and fire-fighting equipment. It must not deliver water at pressures high enough to increase the occurrence of leaks and pipeline breaks. Water mains are placed 91 to 183 cm below the ground surface to protect against traffic loads and to prevent freezing.

The pipeline system of a municipal water distribution network consists of arterial water mains which transport water from the treatment plant to areas of major water use in the community. The pipes are made of asbestos cement, cast iron, ductile iron, plastic, reinforced concrete, or steel. The use of plastic pipes is increasing. They are also corrosion-resistant and their smoothness provides good hydraulic characteristics.

For water distribution system to operate it requires several types of fittings such as hydrants. The main purpose of hydrants is to provide water for fire fighting. They also are used for flushing water mains, pressure testing, water sampling, and washing debris off public.



Technologies are being developed to improve recycling of wastewater and sewage treatment so that water can be used for non personal uses such as irrigation or industrial purposes. New technologies such as membrane based systems, advanced oxidation and improved biological treatment systems are now being used not only for water and wastewater treatment but also for desalination, reuse and recovery systems.


“Drip irrigation” is used to reduce agricultural water demand. Countries such Jordan, have reduced water use with drip technology.  Another approach is the use of small decentralized distillation units to improve water availability and safety. The main issue is the economical distribution of water to rural and low-income areas. Some projects are striving to produce inexpensive distillation units that can remove contaminants from any water source. New approaches such as desalination, water reuse, and rainwater harvesting and groundwater replenishment are becoming more common. However are not easy to implement because of social and regulatory concern with proposals for new water sources.


Sewage System

In the late 19th in the UK and U.S. the construction of centralized sewage treatment began because of outbreaks of cholera which were caused by contaminated water supplies. The waste was first passed through a combination of physical, biological and chemical processes that removed some or most of the pollutants. In the 20th century, increasing public concern for environmental quality led to more regulation of wastewater disposal practices. In the 1970s, there was more concern for energy conservation thus influencing the design of new pollution control systems.

There are three types of wastewater, domestic sewage, industrial sewage and storm sewage. Domestic sewage (sanitary sewage) carries used water from houses. Industrial sewage is used water from manufacturing or chemical processes. Storm sewage is runoff from rain that is collected in a system of pipes.


The main method of wastewater disposal in cities and towns is discharged into a body of surface water. Suburban and rural areas use on subsurface disposal. The wastewater is purified to protect both public health and water quality. Biodegradable organics and Pathogenic bacteria are destroyed.


With sewage there is a wide variation in sewage flow rates over the course of a day. A sewer system must facilitate this variation for example in most cities; domestic sewage flow rates are highest in the morning and evening hours. The average sewage flow rate is usually about the same as the average water use in the community.





































Fourth Paragraph


Investment in Water and Wastewater


Water is an invaluable economic resource to the global economy and ultimate ‘green’ investment. The water industry comprises of many companies that provide products such as bottled water and services such as the collection, conveyance, treatment, analysis of water and wastewater. The companies can have a significant impact on water include chemical, steel, manufacturing, and agriculture. At the end of August 2008, the top fund holdings as of in the Claymore S&P Global Water Index ETF include Veolia Environment (7.59 %), ITT Industries inc (6.67 %), Geberit (6.53%), Danaher Corp. (6.38 %), Kurita Water Industries (6.08% ), Nalco Holding (5.49 %), United Utilities Group (5.31 %) and Iron (4.68%).


Many companies in the U.S. and Europe deal directly with the generation and distribution of drinking water such as US Water and American Water and Veolia

as investments in water pay substantial dividends. The industry’s greatest threat could be its greatest opportunity for companies investing in the water industry that have to do with water scarcity. It would involve taking marginal waters, brackish waters and seawater and treating them to drinking water standards. This is already commonly done in semi-arid areas. The technologies that are used for this is usually a combination of microfiltration membranes in combination with reverse osmosis membrane treatments. For example, Pico Holdings saw a gap in the market and started buying up water rights in Nevada and Arizona as it knew that the private water rights would enable it to charge a high premium due to water shortages in the region. The Colorado River supplies Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California with water.


Clean water attracts a $50 billion a year water-based recreation industry, $300 billion a year in coastal tourism, a $45 billion annual commercial fishing and shell fishing industry. In addition, clean rivers and coastlines attract investment in local communities and increase land values. Thus in turn create jobs, increase tax base for governments to invest back into water industry.


By keeping water supplies free of contaminants that cause disease will reduce sickness and related health care costs and absenteeism in the workforce. By reducing illness and absenteeism it will contribute directly to the productivity of the workforce and continuous growth in Gross Domestic Product. Furthermore, adequate water supply capacity to serve a growing industrial base enables expansion of the privately owned companies.


By providing adequate supplies to industry that relies on pure water for processing, cooling, or product manufacturing, water systems create direct economic value across nearly every sector of a country’s economy.


From the chart below, the water stock worldwide had 359 companies and less than 20% of the list was water utilities. The non-utility of the companies was involved with pumps, pipes, valves, filters, testing, instrumentation, engineering, and construction of water systems. Only 103 of the 359 companies in the chart below are U.S. companies thus illustrating that the water industry is a global industry

According to Summit Global Management Inc., a US based water investment and consultancy company, companies who sell to water utilities have a much more predictable and stable business profile than those companies who might be selling into more cyclical industries such as oil.


Summary by Region – December 2005



# of










Mkt Cap USD







Div Yld



Asia & Pacific Rim











Europe & Africa











Latin America & Canada











United States

























Investing in China


China’s water shortage is more serious than most industrial countries which have more than 20% of the world’s population and only 7% of its water. Furthermore, it’s population is in the dry northern regions. The Bank of China Int. stated that China currently faces a water shortage problem. The water crisis in China has provided an excellent opportunity for investors to invest in a waterworks company that can provide solutions. New China Ventures Ltd (NCVL) was established to encourage North American investors to invest in the China water infrastructure industry to help acquire a portfolio of cash-flow generating water companies in China. In addition, China has a strong presence in a growth economy that desperately needs water infrastructure and increased earnings in dollars as the Yuan appreciates against the dollar.
















Fifth Paragraph


Working in the Water industry


Career opportunities in water resources are vast. The industry represent a variety of disciplines such as engineering, humanities, sciences, law and management offering many opportunities in the sector throughout the world. There are a wide range of employment roles at all levels such as water-resource planning, work in data collection and analysis, drought and flood analysis, river-system management, water-quality investigations, ground water studies and research and teaching. 


There is a high demand for skilled engineers, operatives, scientists and customer care staff. Skilled trades account for the highest number of jobs. Many professionals work within a particular field of specialization, such as economics or hydrogeology. The industry will appeal most to those with an interest in scientific and technical work. Almost 80% of employees are male.  It is also challenging and rewarding work.


The average age of a worker is high. The majority will reach retirement age in the next decade. The skilled workforce is ageing so there is a need to recruit young people. An increase in the use of renewable energy is expected over the next ten years.  Furthermore the waste management sector will need more high level jobs such as process engineers and technical staff. There is access to learning and development activities.


There is also the opportunity of travelling especially to developing countries as some of the primary needs lie in water supply, irrigation, sewage disposal, watershed management, and flood control. Many foreign-aid programs have employed numerous water-resource specialists.


In addition, the opportunities in employment extend from local or governmental agencies to waste-treatment specialists. There are also job prospects in private consulting firms in such fields as engineering, hydrogeology, groundwater hydrology, water-project planning and development and water-quality analysis.


The industry can be broken further down into sectors which is outlined in the chart below


Sectors within the industry

Administration and Support

Bulk Water and Catchment Management

        - Reservoir Operator


Operations and Maintenance


        -Water Distribution Officer

       - Plumber water sampler

        -Meter reader


Planning, Development and Environment

Wastewater Treatment

    - Assistant Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

   -  Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator


The chart below outlines skill shortages across each of its sectors, particularly in the following roles


Water treatment operators

Waste water operators



Technical officers


The Australian Water Association launched a campaign "H2Oz Careers in Water" to encourage people into the industry.  The chart below shows the expected growth in Victoria in the employment in the electricity, gas and water industry to increase by 5.5 % during 2009 and 2010. In the past ten years, employment had increased from around 15,000 to around 24,200 persons.  Average weekly earnings in the industry in February 2009 amounted to $1,468 in Victoria. 




Employment numbers in the electricity, gas and water industry between 1999–2014



Within next decade Australia's water industry will need to recruit up to half its 80,000 individuals to replace retirees. The industry will need to train 40,000 people by 2018 as a large percentage of the current workforce is over 50 years of age. This problem is not just unique to Australia, it is within the entire water industry. Governments need to encourage companies to focus on the issue of mentoring to assure that skills are transferred to the younger generation of professionals.


In Australia, a graduate course in water planning and a national water sector skills project is underway with $1.231 million giving to a National Water Skills Resource Project to develop standards and resources for the training and assessment of people undertaking accredited courses for improved water management in Australia. A funding of $1.8 million will go towards assessing the vulnerability of Australia's groundwater resources to seawater intrusion.

This is a great opportunity for newly qualified professionals in water industry all over the world. The Indian water market is still untapped. It is estimated that Indian water market is worth more than $4 billion and grows at a rate of 15-20% every year. .


At present UK is heavily investing in the water industry thus requiring engineers and technicians for water jobs across all sectors in such areas as civil, mechanical, electrical and process.


Israel is another country who is investing heavily in water industry. It is growing with 270 companies and R&D organizations that employ some 8000 people. Sixty of them are high-tech start-ups that were founded after 2001. Israel is seen as an important player in the global water market. In 2008 it was estimated at 1.4 billion dollars. Israel is involved in desalination plants construction, irrigation systems, recycling and supervision of water resources.


The main employers are the Water Service Companies and the Water Supply Companies. The main 10 players in the European utilities industry  Centrica, Veolia Environment SA, EDF, Enel, Eni, GasTerra, Gazprom, GDF SUEZ, RWE, Scottish and Southern Energy.


An individual entering the global water sector must be knowledgeable of water resources issues and know which area of specialization that he/she wishes to do. Typically a graduate degree, either a Master's or a Ph.D. is required. An individual must decide which aspect of water resources best suits their interests and skills. Specializations and requirements vary.




























Water is essential to life and the world’s most precious resource. The water industry faces two major challenges climate change and water shortage. Investment in the water industry is much needed on solving water problems. There’s still much that needs to be done to ensure that people around the globe have an adequate supply of clean water.


Water has been a relatively low technology industry with infrastructure deteriorating. It is important to reduce carbon footprint. Investments in innovative solutions allow the water companies to deliver value for consumers and meet their outputs.


The industry needs young and bright individuals to make a difference to improve and enhance our most valuable resource. There is a growing concern about the aging water industry workforce and a shortage of qualified workers as current employees retire in coming years. The water industry offers many opportunities for a career as engineers, chemists, water-quality analysts, treatment-plant operators, electricians, and electrical component mechanics. Choosing a career in water resources can be among the most fulfilling and rewarding ways to make a living. In addition to that a career in the industry will make a difference to the new generation. Water is the important source to all living beings and things so why not choose a career that will make an important contribution to life itself.



v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }st2\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} table.MsoTableGrid {mso-style-name:"Table Grid"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; border:solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-alt:solid windowtext .5pt; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-border-insideh:.5pt solid windowtext; mso-border-insidev:.5pt solid windowtext; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}





Market overview

Foundation Capital expects that by 2060, world energy consumption will double from 14 terawatts per day to 28 terawatts. According to industry analyst company Datamonitor, 89% of U.S. households and 41% of European households will have smart meters by 2012.


Smart meters are new type of electricity meter which will replace traditional meters. There are many advantages compared to traditional meters for the utilities and consumers such as lower costs for manufacturing and calibration and maintenance.

In addition it provides a real-time, accurate, record of the gas and electricity that an individual is using during day and night and costs. It is a two way communication between supplier and consumer of electricity consumption data by time of use. The data readings are more accurate reducing the possibility of inaccurate bills.


A key part to promote energy efficiency in the home is the use of smart meters to help tackle climate change. Climate change is high on the EU and national governments worldwide. It will help householders reduce their energy usage and energy bills, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions. Natural gas accounts for more than half of domestic energy usage in many European markets. With increased global demands for energy and increasing CO2 emissions the need for smart gas metering has never been greater.


Smart meters come with a wireless electronic display which gives a read-out of the gas and electricity consumption with the financial and carbon costs associated with it. The information on the energy used by household will be provided through a hand-held display device via the internet.  Some display devices even incorporate a red, amber and green traffic light system that shows clearly how the usage changes when various appliances are on and off. Smart meters will also make it easier for people who generate their own energy to measure how much they are exporting back to the national grid.


In the 1990s, the Italian utility ENEL was the first to begin a large-scale smart meter programme in Europe. ENEL’s objective was to reduce non-technical losses such as theft and be able to control contracted power.  It cost €2 billion to replace 30 million electromechanical meters with electronic AMR devices and establish a new information and communication infrastructure. Soon other utilities followed ENEL by example.


Sweden was the first country where legislator mandated the introduction of hourly electricity metering for all householders. Sweden has very high per capita electricity consumption about 15,000 kWh, representing almost 6 times world average, the introduction of hourly electricity metering for all customers was mandated. Smart meters were used to meet national policy objectives related to energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.


















First Paragraph


Environmental impact

Smart meters are vital in the battle against climate change. It is believed to be the key to achieving the government targets of cutting carbon emissions as it will allow the customer to manage their use of power. It allows householders to take control of their energy usage. Making householders aware of how much energy they use and when they use it will give them the power to change their usage habits and see an immediate effect.



Creation of jobs

Smart meters are a platform on which to build the jobs of the future. Creating and installing smart meter will require a multi-disciplined and labour-intensive. New computer hardware and innovative software will be required for the implementation of smart meters. Furthermore factory employees will be needed to manufacture more meters, switching gear software and computer hardware. For example, 28 businesses and organizations led by San Diego Gas and Electric could create to 3,200 new jobs in San Diego with smart grid program. The businesses are seeking funding from Obama administration to create a smart energy grid in San Diego. If it is successful, it would bring $213 million in investment dollars.


In Ireland, ESB plans to create 3,700 contract jobs as part of a stimulus plan. The new staff will be hired on a contract basis for specific projects and will not become direct ESB employees, 750 jobs are smart networks.


British Gas plans to create 2,600 new roles within the company by 2012. There will be 2,100 smart energy experts (installing the new meter), 400 supporting team members and 130 managerial staff.



The Brattle Group, a global economic and financial consultant claims that Europe could generate savings of €53 billion over the next twenty years once smart meters are fully deployed. The report states that €53 billion in savings is achievable if legislators are able to persuade energy consumers to sign up for tariff schemes. The EU Commission estimates 7% energy savings for households and 10% for businesses. In Finland found that in-house displays brought average energy savings of 10.3%.


Other Benefits

Smart metering provides utilities companies with the information and flexibility required to manage intermittent electricity supply from renewable and micro-generation sources. The utilities companies can read your meter automatically thus providing more accurate based on the exact energy you use, not on an estimate. The utilities will be able to pass on their reduction in customer service overheads.  Utilities will be able to change the cost of electricity or gas at certain times of the day to match with the demand.

When demand is high, for instance between 5pm, energy prices are higher than at times of low demand such as in the middle of the night. Householders will be able to alter their power use to match the lower tariff periods.

Householders can see their energy consumption on the TV, mobile phone or other display device and monitor usage over time. Householders can sell energy back to the grid. For instance if household generates own energy through wind or solar power, can sell any energy not used.











































Second Paragraph


Standards and Regulations


Smart Metering is seen as a tool through which regulators and network operators will be able to shape electricity demand patterns in the future. Smart Meter requirements are fairly unstable such as bill disputes.


Chart below lists some national standards are now being developed for Electricity and Gas meters.

 Netherlands- EnergieNed, NTA specifications, Dutch Smart Meter Requirements

Germany- OMS (Open Metering System)

UK, ERA (Energy Retail Association), SRSM (Supplier Requirements for Smart Meters), LAN and WAN committees


There are two key European directives impacting the smart meter landscape which are Article 13 of the Energy End Use Efficiency and Energy Services Directive (ESD). Utilities were required to comply with them by May 2008 and with the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) which was implemented in November 2006.


National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAPs) play central role in planning and reporting on implementation of national measures addressing energy. To achieve the EU's vision of a 20% increase in energy efficiency, a 20% increase in renewables and a 20% reduction of CO2 emissions within 12 years will be a huge undertaking. Some trials believed to have happened but not published. Savings are highly dependent on individual scheme. Finland’s residential sector has a 10% saving target

while Netherlands is expecting a 2% saving target.


The US’s Energy Policy Act in 2005 requested state regulation boards to conduct feasibility studies on AMI favouring it and is commonplace throughout Europe and in Australia.  The British government released a White Paper in the summer of 2007 detailing the need for smart meters to wide public approval. 


Markets that implemented it successfully


The European countries with the highest smart metering activity are those with the highest electricity consumption per household which are Norway, Sweden and Finland. In 2003, when Sweden decided to require monthly readings of all

electricity meters by 2009 developments in Denmark quickly went underway. In 2004, Denmark’s largest utilities were starting ambitious projects. In 2007, the Norwegian energy authority (NVE) announced it would recommend new legislation requiring smart meters to take effect in 2013.


In Italy, deployments are nearing completion. ENEL has completed the replacement of its 30 million meters for a total investment of €2.1 billion but countries are becoming increasingly active.


Netherlands are set to follow the Swedish example and introduce legislation requiring

 new legislation. Netherlands is imposing the transformation of residential meters into smart meters by 2012 is under review. Many Utilities such as OXIO, Continuon, Nuon and Essent are launching projects in order to be prepared for the full distribution unbundling deadline.


In France, the French Regulatory Commission has launched a study to examine the smart metering situation in Europe and to simulate different scenarios of deployments in France. EDF has recently launched a tender for a 300 000 smart meters pilot implementation. Altogether EDF manages 30 million meters.


Ireland's Commission for Energy Regulation issued a consultation paper on smart metering, voicing its support for the introduction of smart meters throughout Ireland and calling for responses.  Finally in the UK, OFGEM, and the Department of Trade will launch trails. With the British high client churn rates, the Utilities are reluctant to invest in smart meters.






































Third Paragraph


Types of meters


There are a number of smart meters on the market at the moment but there are two fundamental types of Smart Meters, Time of Use Meter (TOU) and other one is Interval Meter.


TOU meter measures energy consumption in preset time periods such as on-peak and off-peak times. The meter has lower costs to purchase and to read, and low-end versions can not be remotely reprogrammed and cannot communicate in real time.


Interval Meter measures energy consumption in pre-set intervals usually every 15 minutes. It produces hundreds of sets of data. The data is read using radio frequencies, internet, phone lines, or by using power line data transfer. The meter is more expensive and requires new computer and billing systems to manage.


A good smart meter is recognizable by the Z-Wave standard, approved globally by the Z-Wave Alliance. Z-Wave technology uses a low-power radio frequency signal to automate devices.  Intel and Universal Electronics and 160 technology manufacturers are committed to building wireless products to the appointed Z-Wave standard. Z-Wave technologies are energy efficient and do not interfere with cordless phones, Bluetooth devices or Wi-Fi internet.


Many energy suppliers and meter manufacturers are international. Smart meter installations are by single electricity suppliers for E-meters for example Italy, Enel

–Sweden –USA, California Southern Edison.


Automatic reading


Smart meters have either an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) or Remote Meter Reading (RMR) that allow meters to be checked without the need to send a meter reader out. RMR enables online metering of energy consumption. It is particularly useful for high value consumers where accuracy of billing and delays in time taken

for meter reading are important. Furthermore can monitor consumption patterns to

detect theft/ tampering of meters is possible with these types of meters.




Implementation depends on a number of factors such as population density and existing communications infrastructure. Some of the communication mechanisms allow only one-way communication but most already allow for two-way communication. Utility companies will not only measure consumption but also be able to influence and control it.





The chart below outlines the meter data management system capabilities


Manages the collection of metering data

Organizes data by customer/type, geography, retailer etc

Ensures the consistency and integrity of the data received and its safekeeping

Manages the customer profile/ customer status, meter rating, tariff profile, and any scheduled activities

Manages meter configuration


Another key element of the implementation is the tariff management system similar to charging engines developed for mobile phones applications. The system enables different tariffs to be applied for use of electricity during different times of day and night. This encourages consumers to change their energy consumption habits. Finally the last system is the asset management system that allows the operator to keep track of all the different assets involved and their interconnections to form the smart metering network.


Security Problems


In smart metering there is a lot of concern about the security. There has been successful hacking attempts against some smart meter technology had led some energy company's to reconsider the security aspects of the technology.


Utility companies such as HP are ensuring that their smart grid infrastructure is as secure as possible before moving ahead with a full deployment as plugging security holes after role-out is extremely costly. It has launched a new audit service for smart grid technology in response to a series of successful hacking attempts against energy meters and other infrastructure. Also smart grid security services provider IOActive have verified significant security issues within multiple smart grid platforms.


Smart meters obtain so much information about householders for instance meters can reveal intimate details about activity inside a customer's house when individuals are home, when they sleep and when they eat.


The security of the smart meter market needs immediate inquiry and evaluation. More than 2 million smart meters are in use today and an additional 17 million devices on order by over 73 participating utilities. The smart meter technology is expected to last 10 to 20 years in the field. Therefore there needs to be proper identification and assessment of risks in order to reduce the security risks associated with smart meters.












Fourth Paragraph


Economic value worth


Since 2003, the smart meters have gained momentum in recent years in areas such as Italy and the UK. The growth in market is mostly restricted to middle and southern European region, the market is expected to rise between 2009 to 2011.


The chart below lists the leading utility companies


Itron, Inc 






Utility companies benefit from smart meter investment. The meters send power usage information directly to power companies via the Internet or wireless networks, replacing need for human meter readers. Therefore companies will be able to better forecast energy demand and will gain the ability to price energy accordingly.  The markets will become more price-sensitive based upon market demand.  The higher consumer demand is during peak periods, the higher energy costs for the consumer will be per kilowatt hour. On the other hand, when consumer demand is low during off-peak periods, energy prices will be lower per kilowatt hour. 


By charging consumers more during peak periods and giving consumers the ability to judge when these peak periods will be utility providers can reduce the need for increasing very costly power generation capacity.  Increasing power generation capacity has great monetary costs and environmental costs which is a major cause of carbon emissions that cause global warming.


In addition, utility companies can also use the meters to remotely turn off power when a customer moves out or fails to pay bills or automatically reroute electric power when a storm knocks out power lines. According to the California Public Utilities Commission operational savings of 70% can be made.


There are many companies entering into the smart-meter market such as international companies such as Google, Cisco, HP and IBM. They are among others who have focused on the development of smart meters and smart grids. For example Google has developed a free web service called PowerMeter,  a type of smart meter technology that can help consumers track energy use in their house or business.  Google has partnered with smart meter manufacturer Energy Inc to provide the new service. PowerMeter is only available to a limited group of customers but the company plans to expand the service. It is designed for providing energy consumption information to consumers.

Fifth Paragraph


Jobs in the smart meter Industry


The smart industry is still in its infancy. There is a shortage of people trained in these services. Even after the installations of the smart meter there will be opportunity to build a career because more devices are been connected to smart meters that there will be a need to provide support such as help desk, troubleshooting and field visits will all be required.  There are 150 million electric meters in the US with 90 % need to be upgraded. The United States Stimulus Plan provides $4.5 billion for the smart grid with an additional $4.5 billion by utilities over the next two years. PG&E in California is putting in 10.3 million smart meters, while Oncor in Texas is planning to install 3 million in the next four years.


It is believed that 10,000 jobs will be created for equipment installers and furthermore 10,000 software engineers. According to a report from the GridWise Alliance expects with a rapid advancement in projects more than 150,000 jobs should be created by the end of 2009 and will spur the remainder by 2012.


Chart below outlines some roles/ job positions in smart metering industry


Direct Utility Smart Grid  


Direct Utility Suppliers 

  • Meter manufacturers
  • Intelligent Transmission and Distribution automation device producers
  • Communications system products and services providers
  • Software system providers and integrators
  • Indirect Utility Supply Chain 

New Utility/ Energy Service Companies (ESCOs)

Renewable Energy Source suppliers

Distributed Generation suppliers of products and services

Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV) providers





Seeking employment in the industry

To contact colleges or local electrical utility to see if the they are partnering with any training programs. Alternatively since much of the work will be done by contracts get the names of those companies and reach out to them directly.








Skills profile


Smart meters are digital and have a different configuration and their installation requires different skill sets which in turn means additional training. Furthermore smart metering requires a substantial investment of work hours above normal maintenance and repair operations.


Utilities may choose to assign some of it loads to subcontractors if they see it to be temporary. Smart meter skills and certifications will be needed after the bulk of the deployment is completed for maintenance, repairs and future deployments. Utilities may choose to assign some portion of the rollout to dedicated resources that will only perform smart meter deployments and distributing the rest across resources that are also responsible for other tasks. For example, rollouts in dense urban areas may justify a dedicated workforce while rollouts in rural areas may be better served by local teams.


The UK is one of Europe’s leaders in the smart metering. Landis+Gyr has a high market share and has exported nearly 2 million meters including 1.2 million prepayment meters abroad.

































There is no doubt about the potential benefits of smart metering. Smart meters appear

to be the biggest innovative development with international companies like Google taking part. An advanced metering infrastructure offers more than just reading and controlling smart meters. It can be used to stimulate the householder to change energy behaviour and allows householder direct control of household appliances such as the washing machine or the air conditioner.


There are many parties involved and the benefits of smart metering can be seen by all parties which do not have one party bearing the costs. For utility companies smart meters decrease meter reading costs, for grid operators can prepare their grid to the future, for energy suppliers can introduce new customer made services and reduce call centre cost, for the governments can reach energy saving and efficiency targets and to improve free market processes and finally for end users to increase energy awareness and decrease energy use and energy cost.


An important issue need to be addressed when introducing smart metering. There is still much uncertainty about security and privacy issues. Furthermore, investing in smart metering means taking risks. In a liberalized market, these risks are weighted carefully. In a regulated market there are often no incentives to take risks. The way to break through this is by setting (inter)national standards and adopting appropriate national and international rules and legislation based on a firm energy policy. For Sweden, the Netherlands and California, this is the main driver.















New text added. Please edit and save.New text added. Please edit and save.New text added. Please edit and save.
Latest Job Listings