Energy Consultant Job Profile

An energy consultant may work anywhere across the energy industry, including the alternative energy sector. This is an interesting, challenging area of consultancy, because it directly links to the big changes in energy technology.

The Work Environment

An energy consultant falls into one of two basic types:

  • Commercial and sales-based energy consultants
  • Technical experts.

The commercial energy consultants specialize in their own product areas, including alternative energies, on both the business and consumer levels. Their work may include advising on basic energy requirements for an industrial operation or other system.

The technical experts deal with more complex types of work. They're often also engineers or scientists, working with major systems and projects. In most cases these services are provided by industry consultancy firms that specialize in particular forms of energy.

The work may include advisory roles regarding the following:

  • Power consumption
  • Power systems configuration
  • Energy consumption and distribution
  • Energy economics
  • Energy efficiency
  • Studies of future energy needs and projections
  • Alternative sources of energy
  • Studies and projects related to major infrastructure
  • Energy issues in housing
  • Wind power
  • Thermal power
  • Solar power
  • Tidal power
  • Hydroelectric power
  • Fuel economy issues
  • Independent energy sources for consumers.

This is one of the jobs of the future. Energy consumption around the world has increased enormously. The energy infrastructure of the past needs drastic modification. Domestic and industry energy usage is now a major issue for governments and a major overhead for businesses, even at wholesale rates.

Energy consultants at all levels help provide better, cheaper energy usage for their clients. Their work also drives the global re-evaluation of energy supply and distribution systems. As an energy consultant, you would regularly deal with new technology and, in some cases, whole new systems. Energy consultants sometimes have to act as interpreters for their clients and explain the new systems.

Alternative energy sources raise similar issues, where the benefits and cost savings of sustainable energy sources may need to be modeled, designed and explained to clients. Green architecture, for example, is based on energy efficiency to a large extent.

Wages

Wages vary, depending on the type of consultancy. Average rates range from $42,000 to $74,000 for employees. Sales area may also include commissions and bonuses.

Hours

An energy consultant typically works standard business hours, but duties may involve site work.

Opportunities for Advancement

The two different types of consultancy have different career parameters:

Commercial energy consultants and sales: These are corporate-oriented careers, particularly in sales, and career progression usually follows the typical sales career. The specialization, however, can provide a good avenue of advancement because of the strong commercial and consumer markets. Commercial energy consultants can progress into major business roles in their fields of expertise.

Technical energy consultants: Consultants may be able to make very good businesses in the big-budget technical field. The high levels of expertise required in big energy projects and planning represent both major career options and professional achievements.

A further range of career options is also possible in the academic field, including these:

  • Academic training roles
  • Research, including patents possibilities
  • Energy and infrastructure policy work.