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Energy (Power Generation): Graduate Area of Work
As the energy industry moves towards new systems and a rising demand for power, graduates from different engineering disciplines are needed to address these issues.
Power generation deals with the generation of energy, its transmission and distribution to homes and properties, as well as its metering and sales.
This privatised industry is locally regulated by Singapore Power, and the major players tend to be companies with a full vertically-integrated structure – those with the ability to generate, distribute, and sell power.
Though profitability is still the main objective of this sector, issues concerning sustainability and environmental damage have pushed the search for alternative energy onto the industry agenda.
This can range from the tried-and-tested steam turbines and hydroelectric power plants, to newer power sources such as nuclear power.
Singapore’s strategic location within the Asian Sunbelt, as well as its strong logistics and R&D capabilities, have encouraged international companies to invest in clean energy research here in the city-state.
The government has also earmarked tidal energy and smart grid technology as areas for further advancement, in order to address increasing local demand for energy.
Trends and developments in the energy industry
As current power infrastructure systems come to the end of their service life, nuclear power is seeing a resurgence globally as new energy generation assets are needed to avoid worldwide power shortages.
There is also a looming concern over the lack of skilled engineers to operate these new generation technologies. Singapore is making efforts to solve this by offering postgraduate scholarships and specialised courses, but more has to be done to address the manpower shortage in this sector.
While climate change issues are pressuring engineers to deploy new sustainable energy solutions, the race is still on for reliable clean energy systems that can be deployed on a national scale and at an affordable cost to consumers.
For instance, Singapore may have difficulties generating a regular supply of solar energy due to rapid weather changes, and this unsustainability translates to increased cost for solar power.
It’s issues like these that power generation engineers around the world are struggling to fix.
What it’s like working in power generation
Typically, engineers working in this industry will be simultaneously involved in a large-scale project that involves extensive planning and lead time, as well as other smaller assignments that require rapid response.
Profitability is still the name of the game, and short-term solutions need to be applied quickly and safely.
Engineers in this industry typically work in small specialist teams.
They may either be deployed individually to address day-to-day technical issues, or integrated with other teams into a larger group for more complex projects – such as the building of a new power plant.
Some engineers, on the other hand, may end up taking on specialised consulting roles instead, offering their expert opinions on power generation projects.
However, in order for you to take on such roles, you first need to have enough experience to build your credibility.
Getting a graduate engineering job in power generation
Getting into this industry will require a solid education background and a practical understanding of the field.
Electrical and mechanical engineering graduates are particularly favoured, but hiring employers won’t discriminate against those from other engineering degrees either.
Most starting graduates will be absorbed into graduate schemes, where they’ll be rotated through various business departments for introductory roles before they decide upon an area of interest.
Hiring employers are on the lookout for candidates with good project management skills, as well as the ability to assess risk and take decisive action.
Other general skills sought include good communication and teamwork abilities, as well as the capacity to look beyond the details and see the bigger picture.
The power generation industry seeks graduates in...
- Power systems