Apr 28, 2014

Utilities putting energy into the right hires

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By Adam Groff

The energy industry is expanding at the speed of light, which is exactly why utility companies are consistently hiring new employees. With that said, there are some jobs within the realm of utilities that are more popular than others in the eyes of prospective hires. Here's a brief look at the ins and outs of the hiring process for many utilities companies across the country.

Popular utility jobs

The field of utilities offers some pretty exciting and rewarding careers.Because of this, there's plenty of competition for potential candidates looking to get their foot in the door.

Here are just a few of the most sought after energy jobs available:

• Utility Lineman - Although a lineman's work is hard and oftentimes dangerous depending on weather conditions, utility lineman are some of the highest paid workers in the industry. Average salaries start in the $60,000 range and pay rates double in overtime situations, as in the case of off-hour power outages.

• Meter Readers - As smart meters take the place of manual devices, fewer meter-reading jobs are becoming available. But, smart meters are opening doors to new jobs, such as smart meter tech specialists. And, meter specialist jobs start in the $45,000 salary range.

• Utility Workers - The title of utility worker covers a broad range of positions, from repairman to maintenance serviceman for commercial and residential clients. Because general utility workers make up the majority of the workers in the industry, it's one of the most popular utility jobs available with a range of salaries and hourly wages depending on the position.

Hiring prerequisites

Many local and national utility companies require potential candidates to have prior knowledge within the field in which they are applying.

In terms of degree programs that help turn a DIY hobby into a career, many candidates who apply already have degrees in some form of electrical work.

Employees without an electrical background are usually required to complete prerequisite training and testing before they are considered for employment. The training depends on the position at hand and oftentimes requires testing through the Edison Electric Institute or similar trade association.

Utility job statistics

As many other industrial fields struggle to keep up with job demands, the energy sector is providing more jobs at an increasingly steady rate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, seasonal employment is increasing from month-to-month and the unemployment rate for the utilities field is at a low 3.4 percent. This combined with the attractive salaries makes utility jobs that much more desirable.

Energy and social media

Utility companies are changing their recruiting process to fall in line with the social times. More and more employers are turning to social media to promote their available positions and new recruits are responding.  

Promoting jobs on sites like Linkedin and Twitter is resulting in more qualified candidates finding the utility positions they're looking for. In addition, employers are also finding that social media is a great tool in terms of prescreening applicants.

From the top positions to the great salaries, the energy industry continues to supply worthy candidates with long-lasting careers.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including home improvement and the environment.

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Jul 29, 2021

Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030

Dominic Ellis
4 min
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades says the UK's National Infrastructure Commission

Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission

Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.

The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.

The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture. 

It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.  

The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020. 

Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.

The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.

While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.

Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse. 

"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.

“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.” 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets. 

Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.  

Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."

McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:

  • Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
  • Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
  • Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
  • Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
  • The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere

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