All posts by Energy Job Blog Team

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DTE Energy Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

When it comes time to look for a new career, there are seemingly endless industries and occupations from which to choose, with some holding more promise than others. One such an industry is that of energy, which is growing at a fast rate, keeping pace as the population of the world increases and the demands for energy naturally rise. Roles in energy companies, such as DTE Energy jobs, can prove highly lucrative and beneficial for the worker. In this article, we’ll explore DTE Energy jobs, in addition to tips for getting hired, and illustrating the potential in energy jobs of which you can take advantage.

What Is DTE Energy?

DTE Energy jobs are sourced through DTE Energy, a diversified energy company based out of Detroit, Michigan. The organization is involved in the management and development of energy-related businesses and services across the country. The operating units of the organization include an electric utility that serves 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, as well as a natural gas utility that serves an additional 1.3 million Michigan consumers. The portfolio of DTE Energy includes natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, energy marketing and trading, as well as non-utility energy businesses focused upon these areas.

DTE Energy employs more than 10,000 individuals within their utility and non-utility subsidies and is involved in a broad range of businesses in the energy field. Leveraging these businesses, DTE Energy jobs are increasingly being created within the non-utility businesses of DTE Energy.

DTE Energy Jobs Available & Salaries

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As noted above, there are currently over 10,000 employees filling DTE Energy jobs, and as the organization grows and expands into new arenas, the volume of DTE Energy jobs on the market will increase. Following is a consideration of a variety of DTE Energy jobs and their salaries to provide us a window into the many potential occupations currently available through the organization. We’ll explore DTE Energy jobs through Glassdoor, which compiles available jobs, and also collects information from present and past employees to establish average salaries for the employees. We’ll consider the key requirements, key duties, and salary of each position.

Strategic Buyer II

The Strategic Buyer II is a full-time purchasing position that is responsible for daily purchasing activities including the creation of purchase orders from shopping carts. Further, this role entails the retention of material movement transactions, handling exceptions as identified by accounts payable, and also making changes to purchase orders. The Strategic Buyer II must also be able to create various contracts in SAP. To work in this role, the applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year college or university in accounting, finance, or a closely related field of study, and five years of experience in purchasing, accounting, or another relevant area.

The Strategic Buyer II of DTE Energy jobs is moderately high paying at $56k to $73k, with the k meaning a thousand. This level of earnings provides a lower-middle-class lifestyle and is well-compensated for the role. The experience gained is also useful as it may be applicable to positions in a great many companies from a variety of industries.

Planning & Strategy Analyst

The Planning and Strategy Analyst taking a position from DTE Energy jobs to perform this task is responsible for supporting the development of strategy, analysis, and planning for the business unit to which they are assigned. The role includes participating in strategic projects while working with cross-functional groups across the company. This includes the preparation and occasional delivery of key presentations to the leadership teams of the company. A bachelor’s degree in business, economics, finance, engineering, or public administration is required, in addition to three or more years of professional experience.

This particular position pays between $77k and $105k, based upon Glassdoor estimates put together through the reported earnings of past and current employees. This amount is relatively strong given the role and the demands placed upon the individual fulfilling it.

Ops Leadership Rotational Associate

This position is tasked with applying experience and expertise to solve problems, influence those tasked with bringing about their solutions, and executing on the priorities of business units in the various operations areas of DTE Energy, including gas distribution, as well as fossil fuel generation. Requirements for this job include a bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline such as physical sciences or engineering. Experience supervising a represented workgroup is preferred, in addition to experience working within the utility industry.

This offering among DTE Energy jobs pays $52k to $78k.

Manager—Engineering

The Manager of Engineering is responsible for engineering work in the fossil fuel generated power plants, or electrical transmission, construction, and/or other maintenance environments. The Engineering Manager plans, designs, and estimates both time and cost in terms of projects, and oversees the construction, maintenance, and/or operations of systems, facilities, and structures concerning power generation and distribution systems and components. The Engineering Manager must have a bachelor’s degree in a business-unit-relevant engineering discipline, and ten or more years of experience in the field in related positions.

This position of DTE Energy jobs pays between $106k and $140k.

Lead Field Service Power Generation Technician

This role is responsible for the safe and efficient operation, maintenance, and also troubleshooting of assets that are owned and operated by DTE Energy. This includes but is not limited to work on the switchgear, controls, generation equipment, and other ancillary equipment used by DTE Energy. A high-school diploma or GED is essential, in addition to advanced knowledge and experience with switchgear, electrical systems, and generation equipment. One to five years of relevant experience is required.

The Lead Field Service Power Generation Technician earns between $27 and $43 per hour of work performed.

Tips to Get Hired

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Getting hired at a company, whatever the industry, can be a daunting task. By adhering to the following suggestions for getting hired, you will be able to differentiate yourself from the competition, and ideally land a position that could vastly improve upon your standard of living and align that with superior enjoyment. Given the many positions available from which to choose, the following three tips will help in your quest to get hired into a position that fits with your skills and experience and will lead not only to sufficient compensation and benefits but job satisfaction.

Be Consistent

Being consistent is not referencing your personal habits or behaviors, but your consistency with the available position. Are your skills, experience, and abilities consistent with the job that has currently come available? To optimize your chances of getting hired, apply for positions that are relevant to your education and experience, your overall qualifications, and for which the demand is aligned with what you have. Seeking out a role as an engineer if you are a businessperson will not likely lead to a job. Apply for those positions that are consistent with your skills and goals.

Be Persistent

Even with the perfect fit for a given organization, you may simply be one of many hundreds of applicants, all of whom may prove difficult for the organization to keep track of fully. Once you’ve put in your application, follow-up. Contact the human resources manager and inform them that you’ve applied and inquire if there is anything more you can do to support the process. In some instances, such as when you are applying for a specialized position, it can help to contact the manager under whom you would work. By meeting those you would work with, they can make a case for you if they believe you’d be a good fit for employment with their organization.

Be Broad

When finding a job is essential, it can help to broaden your horizons a bit by applying for jobs for which you meet the qualifications but may not be what you are used to performing. Stepping outside our comfort zones can be difficult, but doing so can reveal new areas in which we can excel, thereby expanding upon our opportunities and the potential thereof. When looking for an occupation, there are many, many options from which to choose, and your skills and experience might go further than you’d think so applying broad and wide helps increase the odds of finding employment faster.

Conclusion

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DTE Energy jobs are on the rise as the company rapidly expands in the Detroit region to serve more gas utility customers while also expanding operations into additionally related facets of the industry. When seeking a job at DTE Energy or elsewhere, it is important to be consistent, be persistent, and be broad. There are a great many DTE Energy jobs currently open, and to find yours it is a matter of identifying those that fit, applying, and following up and networking to make sure that DTE Energy knows that you are one of the best fits for one of the available DTE Energy jobs.

For more information about jobs in the energy field, particularly in relation to renewable energy, check back regularly to the Energy Job Blog for ongoing updates and articles on the energy field and the jobs available within it.

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Duke Energy Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

So the job hunt has begun, and you are on the search for a position in the bustling and growing energy industry. Wherever you might be in the United States, there are likely jobs in energy, whether Duke Energy jobs or those available through your regional power supplier and producer. In this article, we'll explore Duke Energy jobs. Duke Energy provides electricity to some 7.6 million retail customers in 6 states and also distributes natural gas and related services to over 1.6 million customers in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. As we'll see, the company is growing, and jobs are available. 

What Are Duke Energy Jobs?

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Duke Energy invites prospective applicants to "be part of something powerful" in working with Duke Energy to deliver electricity and natural gas to nearly 10 million customers. Piedmont Natural gas is the name of their natural gas operations, although under the umbrella of Duke Energy jobs. Duke Energy is looking to fill Duke Energy jobs with the best and brightest workers in the industry. Duke Energy notes that it is through their people that the company has become great, and so they are always on the lookout for more great employees to fill the growing number of available roles.

There is great variety among Duke Energy jobs, with the character of the role being determined by the sector of the industry in which the employee is operating. Customer service representatives fill Duke Energy jobs to support happier customers and greater brand satisfaction for Duke Energy. The company relies upon engineers and visionaries to contribute to the infrastructure of energy production and its designs. Construction workers and supervisors are essential to creating the plants. Service technicians are needed to maintain the line and ensure that in-home services are functioning smoothly.

Duke Energy jobs are staffed with strategy, with the company inviting prospective employees to assist the organization in making a positive difference in the lives of millions of people each day. The company claims to present employees with a positive and friendly work environment. Employees are also provided opportunities for advancement through growth and development potential. Employee recognition for their work is incorporated into the competitive pay and benefits package offered by the company. Following are a number of available Duke Energy jobs to illustrate such opportunities.

Available Duke Energy Jobs

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There are many Duke Energy jobs available on the market. The following list, while not in any way exhaustive, provides a general idea of the different types of Duke Energy jobs you might apply to. Each job is explored in relation to the key responsibilities and the essential qualifications needed to fill the position.

Business And Technical Consultant

The business and technical consultant serves as a business expert for business-specific systems, data, and processes, in order to plan and manage improvement initiatives. This role participates in projects and initiatives that cross function, in addition to many processes. This role provides support for a family of business critical systems or applications and also coordinates the resolution of problems, in addition to running prioritization across jurisdictional areas. This consultant leads efforts to design, revise, and implement solutions to meet the needs of the business and customers alike.

A 2-year degree in a technical or a business-related field is required, in concert with 2-4 years of relevant experience. While a degree is not required, if the applicant does not have one, they must instead have 4-9 years of relevant experience.

Customer Communications Manager

This role is within the context of the Customer Communications team, which implements and tracks integrated and effective communication plans that are targeted to enhance customer satisfaction by providing the consumer with the information they want through their preferred channels of communication. The customer communications manager is responsible for the development of the customer communications strategy, plans, and tactics, that will be employed to reach small to medium business clients. This role works in tandem with the team, in addition to marketing managers, regional communicators, and others.

A bachelor's degree in an area of business, marketing, or management is required. Further, 3-5 years of prior work experience in marketing, corporate communications, business administration, or project management is essential. 7-10 years of prior experience can replace the education requirement.

Engineer III

The engineer III is the advanced level within the engineering classification hierarchy. The employee in this position solves complex problems in engineering areas of specialization with a limited amount of supervision. The engineer III must develop advanced skills and the capacity to work with higher levels of independence. They must effectively apply fundamental concepts to complex and varied work environments and tasks. A bachelor's of science in engineering from an ABET-accredited program or a master's in engineering is required, in addition to 4 years of engineering experience.

Lead Business Technical Consultant

The lead business technical consultant is essential at Duke Energy as this position plans, budgets, and tracks information technology delivery funded by Technology Performance Direct O&M and Capital budgets. This role assists customer delivery plan technology and is meant to drive more predictable budgeting across the field. The lead business technical consultant plans, leads, and manages projects delivered through this innovative technology and methodology. Customer and business needs are met with solutions that are custom designed, revised, and implemented.

To qualify for this position, 15+ years of experience are necessary, or 9+ years of experience and a 4-year bachelor's degree in a technical or business-related field.

Lead IT Business Analyst

The lead IT business analyst works on Digital Transformation organization and is tasked with developing web applications and services to enhance the experience of Duke Energy's customers. A bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering, or a related discipline, in addition to 8+ years of experience is required, or 12+ years of experience if the applicant is lacking in a degree.

Project Controls Specialist I

The role uses the Facility and Customer Support team's Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) in order to ensure the contractual and environmental requirements are being performed. Through close coordination with key partners and vendors, Predict and Reliability Centered maintenance practices will be employed to reduce the risk of equipment failure and O&M expenses as possible. The role also periodically generates project controls reports. Project controls benchmarking is essential, alongside self-assessment initiatives.

College-level reasoning is essential to this position, learned either through a formal education or work experience. The selected applicant will have an understanding of and know how to apply basic project controls principles and the associated project controls software tools. The applicant must be a team player as the position functions in direct cooperation with the Proactive Asset Management and Customer Engagement process in the context of the Facility and Customer Support team.

Research Specialist I

The research specialist is responsible for using their working knowledge of real state law and engineering to support company acquisition projects. The role researches public records, engineering drawings, and internal records to determine the company's rights concerning associated properties. The role requires that the research specialist I perform verification work on DOT and municipally related projects for reimbursement. They must be able to use internal/external GIS systems in order to map easements.

A 4-year degree in business, real-estate, survey, law, paralegal, or another related field is essential, alongside 2 years of direct experience in acquisition and/or research pertaining to real estate rights. Knowledge of surveying and engineering drawings, real estate law, and other related disciplines are essential for the prospective employee to fill this role. 

Salaries

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In this section, we'll present a variety of salaries that one might earn through accepting one of the many Duke Energy jobs. The salary numbers are taken from Glassdoor, which is an online website that allows current and former employees to report on their experiences with a company. The salary numbers are averaged based upon the amounts reported by respondents, creating a viable and relatively accurate estimate of how much the position pays. It is nevertheless important to remember that the range of salaries depends upon the unique experience, education, and personality of the individual employee.

  • Business And Technical Consultant - $84k - $138k
  • Customer Communications Manager - $63k - $116k
  • Engineer III - $71k - $100k
  • Lead Business Technical Consultant - $109k - $168k
  • Lead IT Business Analyst - $83k - $121k
  • Project Controls Specialist I - $58k - $91k
  • Research Specialist I - $45k - $65k

Conclusion

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Duke Energy jobs are plentiful and on the rise. The organization serves nearly 10 million customers and is only expanding, meaning there will be ongoing increases in the number of customer service personnel and personnel to support the power infrastructure, ranging from engineers and fleet mechanics to in-home service technicians. No matter what aspect of the energy field you would prefer to work in, there is a role among the Duke Energy jobs for you. Whether specialized or non-specialized, physical or verbal, there are positions open to better support Duke Energy customers with your skills and commitment.

For more information on jobs in the energy industry, particularly in relation to sustainable energy, check the Energy Job Blog for ongoing updates and articles.

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Wondering How to Become an Electrician? The Answers May Shock You

Thinking of pursuing a new career? Maybe you're just starting out at a new job—or maybe the spark is gone from an old job and you're looking for something more rewarding and challenging. Have you ever considered becoming an electrician?

Careers in the field of installing and maintaining electrical equipment can be surprisingly lucrative. The requirements vary from state to state, but the path from complete novice to journeyman electrician is pretty straightforward. Plug in and find out!

Charging Up

Each state has different requirements in education, certification, and licensing when it comes to how to become an electrician.

​To jumpstart the process, the first step you'll want to take before choosing and enrolling in a school is to determine and verify what your state requirements are, then start examining different schools and programs based on that information. Knowledge is power (get it?).

You'll definitely want to be sure that the program you choose covers every aspect of what you need in how to become an electrician.

There's nothing worse than completing a full course load of study to find out that (oops!) your school or program didn't quite cover everything, and the first thing you have to do is pursue more education (with an additional cost of time and money) to get closer to that electrician's license, which should be your main goal.

Most programs in any given state will cover all the bases, but it's something you will want to make sure of before enrolling.

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And bear in mind that you'll need anywhere from 140 hours to 250 hours of training, followed by up to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training after completing your studies, to qualify for a license in most states.

The Duties You're Charged With

Working as an electrician brings with it a lot of responsibility. You'll need to assess the safety of electrical issues in both residential and commercial buildings, and will be responsible for their repair and maintenance. Everything has to be up to code, and that's on you, too.

While many electricians work in new home construction (which can be more straightforward), others work with existing wiring in older buildings, where the task of fixing electrical problems may require a lot of troubleshooting and trial-and-error to figure out.

electrical charge

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​This is where your communication skills come into play—you'll need to be able to explain to a home or business owner what issues they're facing and what could be involved in their repair, especially when making recommendations and determining what costs they're likely to be run into.

Once you've completed your schooling and have the correct training and knowledge necessary, there's a huge range of different career roles available for a qualified electrician. You'll have plenty of choice in the kind of work you decide to take on, so the power is truly in your hands.

Before you get there, though, you do have to get that education, so let's focus on that for a bit.

Speaking of Charges …

Something many people don't think about right up front is the cost your education is likely to entail. Most trade schools that offer electrician programs charge tuition that ranges from around $9,000 on the low end to as much as $20,000 on the upper end.

Your average cost would be right around $15,000, but that represents a significant investment in your future, and is well worth it.

That said, be sure to pick your school or program carefully, and examine all your options when it comes to paying for your schooling. There may be more ways to get your hands on that money than you realize.

Military Programs Could Light the Way


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If you serve now or are a veteran of the armed forces, many of the schools you'll be considering will accept the tuition assistance you earned while in the military. A lot of the time, this will cover all of your tuition expenses.

Spouses of those in the military can use the My Career Advancement Account (or MyCAA) Scholarship Program, which is a workforce development program provided by the military to those married to active duty or military veterans.

The program provides up to $4,000 of financial assistance toward tuition, and many trade or vocational schools will accept these credits as well.

Lastly, check to see if the school or program you're considering is part of the Military Yellow Ribbon Program, which can also help pay for your tuition as you set out on the path of how to become an electrician.

Ask Your Friends and Family


This one is often overlooked, because it is a little awkward to ask friends and family for monetary loans. The benefits here are that repayment of the loan is just about a sure thing—electricians make good money—and you won't be charged interest rates, which can save you a lot in the long term.

Traditional or Title IV Loans


You can also seek a traditional personal loan from a lending institution. While not all banks will approve such loans, if you go in prepared with the facts and figures—including how much tuition is and how much you're likely to make as an electrician over the life of the loan—you're much more likely to be approved.

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We'll go into how much electricians make a little later on to give you some bargaining power when talking with a loan officer.

There are also Title IV loans. Title IV refers to an education act passed in 1965 that authorizes the US Department of Education to make loans, grants, and even work-study programs available to post-secondary students.

The trade or vocational school you choose should be able to help you more with this information.

Some Schools Offer Financing


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Lastly, be aware that some schools will offer 0% financing for the cost of their tuition, with various payback programs that start after you graduate.

And most trade or vocational schools will have a financial advisor who can discuss this with you further and help you pick the kind of financing that's best for your needs.

How Hard Is It to Become an Electrician?

Different people will find it takes different levels of effort to successfully complete electrician training. Here are some basic steps you'll need to accomplish in order to make sure you've got enough power to finish the process.

  • GED or High School Diploma​

This is an essential step. In most states, you won't be able to enter trade or vocational school without at least a GED or other type of equivalency certification.

It's a basic educational requirement that you'll have to show to you've been able to meet before you can even think about how to become an electrician.

If you're an adult who never finished high school, many states now allow you to complete the GED process online, which is a great way to accomplish this initial step.

  • Still in School? Consider These Classes

If you're still in school, choose courses that will help your electrician career. Classes like algebra and trigonometry would be the most helpful, as electricians use this kind of math in determining circuit angles, measuring wire lengths, and calculating the force of an electrical current.

Any kind of shop and drafting or mechanical drawing classes may also help, as might a physics class, as electricians do need to know how to deal with scientific concepts and read technical documents.

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​If you're still a student wondering how to become an electrician, these are some great classes to start with.

  • Pre-Apprenticeships

A pre-apprentice position is a type of training that occurs at the vocational or trade school level, before you graduate and begin an actual apprenticeship. It's becoming more and more important as the field of electrical work becomes more competitive.

Having a pre-apprenticeship doesn't just mean you learn the fundamentals of electrical work before seeking an actual apprentice position, but it makes you stand out among the competition when looking for apprentice work after graduation.

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And it has the added bonus of making learning the basics that much easier, when you don't have work deadlines or a boss breathing down your neck.

Some of those basics include learning about electrical theory, workplace safety, the National Electrical Code, and other things that will give you a head-start.

  • ​Apprenticeships

Once you graduate from trade school, you're ready for the "real thing." You can find an apprentice position by applying to apprentice jobs the way you would any other job.

It pays to do your research and to indicate your enthusiasm and desire to learn—you'll want to be able to put together a good resume, as it could give you a competitive edge, so be sure to study up on that while you're in school.

Apprenticeship positions can be found in the following places:


  • ​The United States Department of Labor frequently has job postings that could point you in the right direction.
  • ​The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
  • ​The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • ​Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
  • ​Newspaper classified sections
  • ​Online job boards

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What to Expect after Schooling

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  • ​Basic Skills Test and Interview Process

To become an apprentice, you'll need to pass a basic aptitude exam, which will test your mathematical abilities and your reading comprehension.

And just like any other job, you'll have to pass a face-to-face interview, so try to pick up some interviewing tips either in school or as an extracurricular activity.

Depending on the kind of position and the state you intend to work in, you may need to pass specific physical requirements (like being able to lift 50 pounds or stand for long periods of time), pass a drug test, and demonstrate a certain level of mechanical aptitude.

Don't be put off by the test requirements—it's all part of how to become an electrician.

  • ​In Some States, You Must Register as an Apprentice or Trainee

California, Texas, and some other states require electrical apprentices to register before being allowed to work as apprentices.

This generally only involves filling out some paperwork and paying a small fee. Every state has its own requirements, and you can find out more at your trade or vocational school or through your state's Department of Labor or similar agency.

  • ​Successfully Complete Your apprenticeship

This is the first big goal after graduation. Your apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with online or classroom instruction where you'll be supervised and mentored by a master or journeyman electrician.

The whole process takes four to five years, but you will be compensated for your time, usually with an hourly wage—but in some rare cases with a salaried position.

What You Will Learn during Your Apprenticeship

  • ​How to read construction blueprints and technical electrical plan diagrams
  • ​How to test and inspect electrical systems and components
  • ​How to install, repair, and maintain electrical wiring, circuit breakers and boxes, and other various other electrical control systems
  • ​How to make sure that all work complies with the National Electric code as well as state and local codes

Image via Oregon Department of Transportation, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

​As your apprenticeship starts, you can expect to be called upon to carry out only the most basic tasks, but those tasks will gradually increase in complexity as your skills increase and you gain greater understanding of the underlying concepts. It's all part of how to become an electrician, so don't be put off by it.

By the time your apprenticeship ends, you'll be able to perform on the journeyman level, and will be capable of a full range of construction and maintenance electrical work.

  • ​Getting Your Local License and Certification

All states, and some local jurisdictions, set their own requirements on how to become an electrician who is fully licensed and ready to work.

In most states, you will need a state-wide license to be qualified to perform electrician work.

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​Some other states, like Illinois and Pennsylvania, perform electrician licensing and certification on the local level, with no state-wide certification.

In most cases, you will need to be licensed and/or certified to perform any electrical work. In many states, you'll also need a license to perform work as a contractor working for a larger business.

Some locations don't require licensing unless you intend to open your own business—your employer is responsible for making sure you meet all the required regulations, which frees you up from the licensing procedure.

When going after your electrician's license, you'll have to pass an exam that tests your knowledge of electrical concepts, best safety practices, local laws, building codes, and the National Electric Code.

You may also have to prove that you've completed a certain number of hours of classroom instruction and apprenticeship work under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master electrician.

Warning: High Voltage Career

Being an electrician can be a very dangerous job. The dangers vary with the kind of work you're performing and under what conditions.

Most people don't realize this, but electrician work ranks right up there with firefighter, logger, and commercial fisherman as one of the most dangerous jobs you can have.

It's good to be aware of these things—if you're thinking about how to become an electrician, you might find these are some important factors to consider.

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  • ​Danger of lethal electrical shock
  • ​Exposure to lead, solvents, and other toxic chemicals
  • ​Risk of fire and explosions
  • ​Welding risks, including exposure to UV radiation
  • ​Working in extreme temperatures – both hot and cold.
  • ​Cuts and abrasions from working with knives and sharp-edged equipment
  • ​Exposure to asbestos, mold, and other disease-carrying microbes in older buildings
  • ​Danger of disease from exposure to bird or rat droppings
  • ​Danger of eye damage from flying particles
  • ​Increased risk of slips, trips, and falls in some work environments
  • ​Risks associated with working alone

Being exposed to electrical shock is one of the most serious dangers of being an electrician. Being shocked brings with it the risks of:

  • Severe burns
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle pain and contractions
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

This is why, as you're learning how to become an electrician, you'd be smart to pay the utmost attention to safety training and regulations. While all the safety training you'll receive can be highly technical and far too involved for us to go into here, it is there to protect and save your life.

As you continue on the path of how to become an electrician, you'll learn many safety regulations and practices that you'd be wise to stick with at all times. It's life and death stuff, so take it seriously.

Positive Charge

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It's not all work and danger—there's also a payday involved, and electricians make pretty decent money. The median wage for someone working as an electrician is right around $55,000 a year, with some making as much as $92,000.

While it varies from job to job and state to state, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has put together some information on median annual wage for electricians in the top industries which employed them. Check it out:

  • ​Electricians working for the government were, on average, paid $60,570 per year.
  • Electricians in manufacturing jobs made $58, 470
  • Those who were electrical contractors or involved in other wiring installations, such as the kind of work you'd see in new home construction, made $52,190
  • Lastly, electricians who found work through employment services were paid an average of $47,520

Wired for Profit

There are ways to make even more money as an electrician, as with any profession. Whether you work for a company or decide to go into business for yourself, staying profitably employed is obviously your main goal.

You need to make sure that you continue to make an effort to do quality work every time, and provide excellent customer service — even if you're in a situation where your boss is your "customer." Here are some tips to follow to make sure you stay on the positive side of the job.

Tip #1 Be Customer Friendly


Working as an electrician generally means that part of your job will be customer service. You'll be dealing with folks every day—whether they're your own customers, the customers of the company you work for, or—as we mentioned above—you come to think of your boss or supervisor as your customer, which is a strategy that pays off over time.

When speaking to these people, either in person, over the phone, or on work radios, maintain a friendly and cheerful demeanor.

​You might be having a bad day or the customer (or your boss) may be difficult, but treating them with respect and consideration means you or the company you work for will receive compliments for your attitude and workmanship.

Even if you're dealing with bosses and supervisors, when review time comes around, those workers who are always cheerful and responsive tend to get more, and better, raises.

And if you're self-employed, those good feelings you leave customers with could translate into better word-of-mouth recommendations and excellent reviews online—all of which means more money in your pocket in the long run.

Tip #2 Be Conscientious and Responsible


You must be responsible when it comes to the quality of your work, but it pays to be responsible and conscientious in how you present yourself or your company as well.

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​Do your absolute best to arrive at appointments on time—tradespeople do sometimes have a reputation for being late—and be sure to do everything in your power to do the job correctly the first time.

By doing this, you gain a good reputation which helps build a client base for yourself or your employer—and that will get noticed.

Tip #3 Keep Training


Continue your electrical training if you want to have the most success in your career and enjoy the best career advancement.

Electrical courses help you keep up with the latest technology, learn new and additional skills that can help you on the path from journeyman to master electrician, and even help you become a supervisor or own your own electrical business.

student studying on a desk

Image via Pixabay

There are plenty of courses online or at your local college, and taking these courses can potentially lead to higher wages, more business, and the ability to tackle jobs that other electricians may not be able to handle. All of this translates into more profit and opportunity for advancement.

Tip #4 Only Work with Reputable Companies


When you're looking for jobs as you first start out, only consider working for companies with an outstanding reputation. Who you work for says a lot about you, and you want to build a resume that will impress those who know a lot about your field.

By working with companies who are well thought of, you can build your own solid reputation as an electrician. You can generally find good companies to work for by checking out reviews online and asking friends or family—or your former instructors or mentors—who to look for and who to avoid.

Tip #5 Dedication


When you start your career as an electrician, you need to be completely dedicated to the job. Always arrive to work on time—or a few minutes early, as that always makes a good impression.

Never miss appointments, do your best to work hard and give every situation your full attention, every day.

​By being dedicated to your profession, your customers or your employer will notice your due diligence and will see that you really care about your job.

This will build your personal reputation, increase the number and quality of customers you might be able to work for, and guarantee job security.

Plugged In to an Electrifying Environment: What to Expect from the Job

Once you've done all the hard work, finished your apprenticeship, and become a full-fledged electrician in your own right, what can you expect from your day-to-day routine?

A journeyman or master job can take on many forms. Electricians work both inside or outside, in all kinds of weather, to ensure lights, wiring and cabling, industrial equipment, electrical supply equipment, and appliances can function safely and reliably.

There are many different special types of electricians, including residential electricians, who install wiring and solve electrical problems in homes, and inside electricians, who maintain and repair control systems, motors, and electrical equipment in businesses and factories.

The specific responsibilities associated with being an electrician will vary depending on your area of specialization, but they might include such things as:

electrician working on power lines

Image via Pixabay

​Planning electrical systems for buildings under construction, including optimal placement for electrical outlets, light fixtures, heating or other high-power capacity outlets, and HVAC or ventilation systems

Reading, understanding, and interpreting architectural blueprints, circuit diagrams, and various other technical documents

Installing wiring, circuit breakers and boxes, lighting, and electrical control systems in new and existing buildings, and making sure all the work is up to code

Connecting electrical wires to components and fixtures to form complete electrical circuits, and testing completed circuits to be sure there are no problems and sufficient power

Installing wiring harnesses, hangers, and brackets to support electrical wiring and other accessories

Electrician working on home wiring

Image via Pixabay

Performing routine scheduled maintenance to keep all that wiring, lighting, and those control systems in good working order

Inspecting circuit breakers and boxes, transformers, and other higher-end electrical components for damage, wear and tear, or other faults

Using devices to test, analyze, and discover why electrical systems are malfunctioning

Replacing, repairing, and upgrading outdated or failing electrical equipment, fixtures, and wiring, including isolating shorts or other faults for safe removal and replacement

And in time, the apprentice becomes the master: you'll eventually be training apprentice electricians and delegating specific tasks to them to complete

electrician in front of power distribution boxes

Image via Pixabay

As you work as a fully qualified journeyman or above electrician, you may find yourself working inside new buildings under construction, existing buildings undergoing renovation, or even outdoors on electric power or telecommunications systems.

Electricians may work in large spaces like factory floors or unfinished buildings, or in cramped conditions like crawlspaces or in utility corridors inside buildings.

All of these different working environments may involve live electrical wires, so they can be very dangerous—if the proper safety precautions aren't in place.

Electricians often work independently on projects, which is one of the reasons we're stressing safety so much—if you find yourself working alone around live wires, help may arrive too late, so be sure to follow all of your training to the letter.

Be prepared to move around a bit, too. Unlike most people who have a regular job site, many electricians will work on remote sites for weeks to months at a time before moving on to the next job.

These job sites might be far from home—it's not at all uncommon for electricians to travel up to a hundred miles—or more—from their home to a job site.

Positives and Negatives

Electricians, unlike some other skilled tradespeople, generally work year-round. Their hours may vary depending on the kind of jobs they're working.

Electricians who work in building maintenance usually have regular, 40-hour work weeks. Most of them work a typical Monday through Friday schedule and may not work much overtime.

Other electricians work on-call and may have to work late hours, overnights, and even on weekends and holidays to fix urgent or time-sensitive problems—though those who find themselves in these roles can expect to be compensated for it.

If flexibility is important to you, you may want to consider working as an independent electrical contractor or a junior electrician working for a contractor. These positions don't have such regular hours—they may be quite busy one week with few hours the next, or it may vary from season to season.

Completing the Circuit on How to Become an Electrician: Final Thoughts

Becoming an electrician takes a lot of hard work and dedication, as the apprenticeship period itself is as long as most college careers, but it pays off almost immediately.

After trade or vocational school, you'll start to earn on-the-job money, even as an apprentice—which is an advantage over regular college courses.

Circuit Diagram

United States. Dept. of the Air Force [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It can be a dangerous job—always follow your safety training—but it's very rewarding and with the right kind of career moves you can go into business for yourself, which offers a lot of perks and flexibility, as well as the opportunity to have employees, who multiply your ability to earn.

It's a great career option for those who have decided that college isn't quite for them, or who want to start making money soon after graduating from high school. It's also a great career to switch into if you find yourself dissatisfied with what you're currently doing.

The power is yours!


Featured Image: CC0 via Pixabay

solar panel

Should I Consider Using Flexible Solar Panels?

Solar panels can be used for renewable energy since they harness the sun's energy to generate power that can run industries or a home's equipment and lighting. The use of solar panels supplements energy needs, and thus provides an opportunity for homeowners to save on energy costs. The technology is advancing rapidly each year and new developments, such as flexible solar panels, are constantly being released and improved upon.

Whether it is powering the Tesla Gigafactory or providing a reading light in your own living room, solar energy saves money for energy consumers. New flexible solar panels represent a great advancement in renewable energy. But, what are flexible solar panels? This article will walk you through the basics and benefits of flexible solar panels.

What Are Flexible Solar Panels?

silicon wafers

Standard polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panels are typically made of silicon wafers. They are about 200 micrometers thick, which is slightly thicker than a human hair.

To make a “flexible” solar panel, engineers would have to slice the silicon wafers to just a few micrometers. This then would enable the wafers to be ultra-thin, giving solar panels the uniquely convenient property of being flexible.

Flexible solar panels have been around for a while, but they were limited in their flexibility because of the brittleness of conventional electrodes used within the panels. Recently, MIT researchers developed a new method for making the solar panels, and it represented a giant leap in the technology.

Instead of trying to slice down traditional silicon for their solar panel electrodes, MIT researchers found a way they could instead use organic solar cells for graphene electrodes. Graphene is transparent and flexible, meaning it can be used to develop thinner, more stable and flexible solar panels than the ones we used previously.


Thin Film Solar Panels

Current flexible solar panels that most homeowners can get their hands on fall under the category of “thin film panels.”

A thin film solar panel consists of layers over 300 times smaller than standard silicon solar panels. This makes them thinner and can even make the panels somewhat flexible. They are also lightweight and durable, making them an intriguing option for supplying energy for different needs.

THIN FILM SOLAR PANELS

Although more flexible and suitable for certain projects, the flexible solar panels have a lower efficiency in converting solar energy into useable power than rigid silicon-based panels. This, perhaps, is the most common obstacle faced by the product when it is compared to classic solar panels.

The efficiency rating for the average polycrystalline or monocrystalline solar panel is about 14-17%. For thin solar panels, the efficiency is reduced slightly to between 11% and 13%.

The lower efficiency of the flexible panels implies you will need more of them to produce the same amount of energy as traditional solar panels. This can be a barrier to some solar projects, particularly those with limited roof space for installation. Another downside is that they are not a good fit for many home rooftop solar projects, because there may not be enough roof space to produce the desired amount of energy.

If you have ample space or are just looking for a supplemental energy production boost, then we feel the just slightly lower efficiency can be overlooked — especially when you consider how many benefits these flexible panels yield.


Uses

Flexible solar panels can be used in virtually all applications that one could use conventional panels. You can use them for:

  • Low-cost, off-grid PV systems for cabins and homes
  • Their portability makes them useful on-the-go for boats, RVs, autos, etc.
  • Can be used to charge solar batteries
  • Technology can be incorporated into new solar energy consumer products

Benefits of Flexible Solar Panels

satellite

The main benefit of a flexible solar panel is its versatility and ability to fit many types of solar projects. For instance, if your home's roof cannot bear the heavy load of traditional solar panels because of structural concerns, then lightweight flexible panels are your solution. Flexible solar panels will not compromise the structural integrity of your home as they can be shaped to fit the surface. They can even be installed easily on unconventional structures, such as carports.

From a financial standpoint, flexible solar panels require less labor to install, so your cost of installation is likely to be less than it would be if you had used the typically heavy and bulky classic panels that require heavy-duty roof mounting systems.

The lightweight and versatile nature of these panels make them portable, which is beneficial during transportation. The flexible panels can also be folded and rolled, something that is impossible for conventional, rigid solar panels.

Typically, solar panels are manufactured using printing machines that capitalize on the roll-to-roll method. This enables rapid, mass production. Manufacturing flexible panels is affordable compared to conventional solar panels. Besides, the material consumption is low and is recyclable after the life cycle ends. The market for organic solar panels is developing. It is expected that the operational life cycle of solar panels in a few years will support many applications.

Due to their portability and durability, the flexible solar panels are best for smaller solar projects where they may experience wear and tear that would otherwise not occur on stationary roofs. Their durability and reduced weight make them a perfect fit for smaller, mobile solar projects that do not need large amounts of energy, such as on boats or RVs.

Why Should I Consider Using Flexible Solar Panels?

solar panel and mobile phone

Amazon.com sells many types of flexible solar panels at different prices. Ask yourself if you could benefit from a flexible solar panel based on your energy needs.

When shopping for a flexible solar panel that will best serve your purposes, look for value for your money. The performance of the solar panel varies according to the quality of the solar cells used, the material used in laminating them and the rigor of the assembly process.

The following are four things you must consider before purchasing a flexible solar panel:

  • Shorter lifespans
  • Quality and efficiency
  • Product knowledge
  • Durability


Shorter Lifespans

Flexible panels have a shorter lifespan than traditional panels. If you need a solar panel that will last a very long time, then the flexible panel may not be your best option. In fact, many of the low-quality flexible solar panels currently on the market will only 1-3 years. Aside from that, the retailer may offer no warranty.

One decisive factor in determining the lifespan of a flexible solar panel is to check its coating material, which is mostly the preferred ETFE (fluorine-based polymer) or less-preferred PET (polyester-based plastic.) PET-laminated panels are expected to last for 5 years, while ETFE can last up to a decade.


Quality and Efficiency

Sunpower’s Maxeon multi-layered cell technology is the best quality solar cell available in the market. It has an efficiency of up to 24.3%, which means the product can provide 35% more power than conventional cells.

Conventional cells have exposed metal components that can be vulnerable to corrosion. This might be an issue to consider, especially if your home is near salt water. If you are close to a marine environment, then it is best to consider alternative energy sources. If you want energy efficiency, then flexible solar panels are not the best option.


Product Knowledge

If you are looking for a flexible solar panel that is an inexpensive method for charging your tablet or phone, go for the PET-laminated panels. While the efficiency is 24%, remember you will get less value for more energy-efficient cells.

If you are looking for a flexible solar panel for camping, your RV, your boat, your refrigerator, battery, engine starter or the like, then choose ETSE-laminated panels. They are waterproof, fire-resistant, reliable and durable.


Durability

To ensure that your flexible solar panel has a long lifespan, you need to purchase quality panels from the start. You need to know the materials used in producing the panel. Do a little research first.

Do not buy a solar panel that has any physical damage, such as cracks or scratches, as these will reduce the lifespan and durability of the panel.

Additionally, you'll get more use and life out of your solar panel if you regularly clean it for optimal performance. Do not let dust or dirt accumulate, because these components can cause damage to your panel.

And, if you are traveling and do not need to use your flexible solar panel, then it is best to use a protective cover to extend its lifespan.

Conclusion

solar panels

Solar panels are made of silicon wafers sliced down to just a few micrometers wide. This makes them ultra-thin and flexible. Flexible solar panels are being improved in drastically in the near future by MIT researchers, who have discovered the applications of organic solar cells for graphene electrodes. These organic solar cell electrodes will lead to panels that are even thinner, more stable and flexible than ever before.

Current flexible solar panels fall under the category of “thin-film panels,” and are 300 times smaller than standard silicon solar panels, making them more flexible, lightweight and durable. Flexible solar panels fit many types of solar projects, such as supplying power to RVs or boats, or even charging batteries or your phone.

A flexible solar panel, which is less costly to install than traditional panels, will not compromise the structural integrity of your home. They are lightweight and versatile, making them highly portable and useful during trips. Manufacturing flexible panels is affordable compared to conventional solar panels, and the material used is recyclable after the lifespan of the panel is complete.

Before buying a solar panel, you need to consider the durability, cells used, quality and efficiency, lamination used and how to improve durability.

QuantumScape signage

Why QuantumScape Could Be The Future Of Smart Cars?

The burgeoning ubiquity of electric vehicles in the United States, Europe, Japan, and elsewhere around the world is attracting the attention of technology companies, automobile manufacturers, venture capitalists, and consumers. The massive untapped market means competition in the development and mass production of the best batteries for electric vehicles will be one of the great innovations of our present chapter in history. The companies that achieve this end will have set up their businesses to succeed well beyond the foreseeable future.

Surprisingly, the United States has only one car in the race. Outside of QuantumScape, a California based company, every company with a major part to play in the coming story is Japanese or German.

The electric vehicle industry in the United States sits in a precarious position at the moment. The price and supply of fuel is not as worrisome as it was five years ago. Advancements in electric vehicle battery technology have stalled. Outside of the familiar small, hybrid models, no electric car has demonstrated an ability to send reverberations through the market. The catalyst positioned to release this deadlock is the successful production of a solid-state lithium battery. It is the only technology with significant chances of truly altering the landscape of the electric vehicle industry in the United States.

Based on their relationship to Volkswagen, QuantumScape is likely the company that will be America's most vibrant representative in the industry going forward.

 

What Is QuantumScape?

fuelling the car

QuantumScape is a battery technology company formed in 2010 as a spinoff of Stanford research and talent. The company stands out amongst other companies developing similar technologies because it is valued at more than a billion dollars despite its lack of a consistent revenue stream or a plurality of deliverable products. This discrepancy is explained largely by the company's numerous investors, including Volkswagen which recently invested $100 million in the company, and its experienced, battle-tested board of directors.

Industry Background

QuantumScape has emerged as a major player in the race to develop a more commercially viable, and hence more profitable, battery for electric cars. The company hopes to achieve a substantial breakthrough in the production of solid-state lithium batteries, a technology being monitored and invested in by a wide variety of companies from Dyson to Toyota. Since the inception of the lithium-ion battery by EXXON in the 1970s, no company or state actor has been able to successfully produce a viable solid-state lithium battery.

The development of such a battery is imperative to the advancement of electric energy, especially in cars, because current lithium battery technology is highly reactive and hence the technology is perceived by consumers to be unsafe. The currently unavailable solid-state alternative ensures more stability, safety, and consumer confidence.

QuantumScape's Long-Term Goals

Volkswagen has been working in coordination with QuantumScape since 2012 to develop a solid-state lithium battery, but their collective goal for mass-production is not projected to launch until 2025. The length of this time frame underscores the difficulty of the task. Positivity regarding progress in electric vehicles has slackened in recent years as scientists and researchers have struggled to make traditional lithium battery products more efficient.

To bridge this gap would mean irreparably changing the trajectory of the electric vehicle market in the United States. Solid-state batteries offer greater safety, faster-charging intervals, a more compact product, and most importantly greater energy density

Lithium Batteries vs. Traditional Fuel

gas station

The transition from traditional fuel to electric power in our vehicles is assured; the timeline on which this shift occurs, however, is not. Currently, advances in battery technology are insufficient to bring a vehicle to market that would inspire sufficient confidence in consumers to facilitate a large-scale transition from fuel to electric power in vehicles around the world, and especially in the United States. Constraints on a vehicle's range present the most onerous challenge for companies that develop battery technology to address in the near future.

The Stubborn Advantages of Traditional Fuel

The stasis in battery development has been met by a resurgent traditional fuel industry brought back to life by an increased supply, primarily from the United States, falling prices, and increased fuel efficiency in vehicles using traditional fuel. Furthermore, there is lingering resistance to costs in infrastructure changes necessary for the proliferation of electric vehicles. These trends have obfuscated the threats of energy insecurity and permanent environmental damage posed by the continued use of fossil fuels.


The Limited Achievements of Lithium-Ion Batteries

In reference to the electric vehicle industry, battery technology has been widely successful in disseminating products that enable consumers to buy hybrid electric vehicles at commercially viable prices and drive their electric vehicles regularly without significant impediment. Vehicles powered solely by electricity, on the other hand, are too expensive for the average consumer and come with a limited range that makes a large segment of consumers uncomfortable.

Without a wider range and a more palatable price tag, electric vehicles cannot hope to make substantial inroads in the market for family vehicles in the United States: the most significant segment of the market for any company hoping to maintain a robust presence in the United States.

Solid-State Lithium Batteries

Solid-state lithium batteries differ from lithium-ion batteries in that a lithium-ion battery requires a liquid electrolyte to facilitate movement between electrodes within the battery. A solid-state battery, like the one being developed by QuantumScape, would achieve the same movement between electrodes with a solid electrolyte. This improvement promises to improve the energy density of the battery which in turn increases the range of the vehicle being powered by the hypothetical solid-state lithium battery.

Additionally, the energy density of a solid-state battery would provide a greater tolerance to high temperatures, less reactivity to dangerous materials, and a more compact product. These advances could take the electric-only powered car from an outlier to the norm.

Best Smart Cars of the Future

electric car

Even as fuel has become more readily available, the transition to electric vehicles is a palpable facet of the modern automotive industry. The companies that bring the future of high-quality, accessible electric vehicles to consumers first will be watching their enterprises grow for untold decades. With the stakes this high, the competition is thick. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, and Nissan have all invested in solid-state lithium battery research.

For QuantumScape and their partner Volkswagen, Toyota may be the fiercest competitor. Toyota has been working with Panasonic since 2014 to develop a solid-state lithium battery, a relationship that reflects the Japanese counter to nascent Chinese competition in the industry. QuantumScape's value as a company compared to the declining market share held by Panasonic indicates Volkswagen may have the slight edge.

The e-Golf

The Golf is currently Volkswagen's best selling model and is particularly popular in European countries where the small, fuel-efficient vehicle accommodates consumers desire to save on expensive European taxes on fossil fuels. Volkswagen is eager to bring the e-Golf to the market, an all-electric iteration of its namesake powered with a solid-state lithium battery which would increase the range of the vehicle to between 700 and 750 kilometers, or roughly 450 miles.

This achievement would win a massive market share in Europe where consumers could circumnavigate fuel costs and the incumbent taxes altogether. In the United States success would be more limited. The size of the Golf precludes the vehicle from becoming a staple in the United States where consumers value room for the comfortable transport of an entire family of four, at least.

Electric Concept Cars

In an effort to cater to a global market looking for a vehicle that provides more than basic transportation without an exorbitant cost, Volkswagen is developing four fully electric cars in which the company hopes to use a solid-state lithium battery. These vehicles are all family-friendly, four-door vehicles, one of which is modeled on the classic Volkswagen Bus, and all would have comfortable interiors and driving ranges for consumers in the United States looking to make a complete transition to electric vehicles.

The e-Golf's success will be an important step in the advancement of QuantumScape's technologies and Volkswagen's market share in the United States but dominance cannot be achieved without a range of products that can be readily marketed to middle-class families who want reliable, comfortable vehicles regardless of the energy source.

Conclusion

car charge sign

QuantumScape's development of an ostensibly viable solid-state lithium battery makes the young company a likely torchbearer on the road to a complete transition to electric vehicles in the United States and around the world. Despite a tempered resurgence in the viability of traditional fuel, the popularity of electric vehicles, particularly hybrid-electric vehicles has continued to increase. Market gains have been most severely limited by stagnant improvements in battery technology. 

The most promising possibility for release from stalemate is the development of a solid-state lithium battery which would increase the energy density of the batteries used in electric vehicles, expanding their range. In collaboration with Volkswagen, QuantumScape seems poised to take a serious run at a large segment of the electric vehicle industry in competition with Toyota and their partner, Panasonic. 

examining rocks

Climate Change Jobs: Availability, Salaries, & More

Climate change is a global concern making climate change jobs not only an interesting profession but a necessity. The Earth has grown through periods of changing climate throughout its history and at least some of this is natural. Most of you will be familiar with the various ice ages that the planet has undergone, but there have also been various warming and cooling periods. Many of you may be surprised to learn that as recently as the Middle Ages, various parts of the world had climates very different than what they have today.

In spite of the various natural changes in climate associated with the Earth and its weather, the recent changes in climate have become apparent even to lay people, causing the public to have greater interest in these changes and in the profession. What this means for people interested in climate change is that there is likely to be more investment in the industry and that means more jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, predicts an 11 percent increase in jobs in environmental science over the next year, comfortably above the national average.

What Is Climate Change?

crack soil

A discussion of climate change jobs would not be complete without a discussion of climate change. Part of this discussion will necessarily include becoming familiar with the kind of individuals that are involved in combatting climate change at all levels. This effort includes many different individuals from activists, lobbyists and fundraisers to environmental scientists and engineers. Fighting the process of unhealthy weather changes will involve a large number of people working in climate change jobs at all levels.

A 2018 Nobel Prize was given to an economist, Paul Romer, whose work at the World Bank and other institutions involved integrating technological advances into economic policy to effect changes into problems including climate change. The awarding of this prize not only underscores how significant climate change is, it also highlights that even economists can be involved in the work of addressing climate change and making suggestions regarding how governments and international organizations can address it.

So what is climate change? This term refers to the statistical change in weather patterns over an extended period of time. In other words, changes in temperature, precipitation, storms or other natural phenomena that are not brief or documented occasionally, but which represent a changed pattern. The climate change that most of you will be familiar with is the change that we associate with human activity. A large number of human activities are proposed to affect climate, including:

  • 1
    Use of fossil fuels
  • 2
    Carbon dioxide emissions from industry and other activities
  • 3
    Aerosol emissions
  • 4
    Animal husbandry
  • 5
    Deforestation

Climate change is also known as global warming, and one can glean from this list that not only are there many common activities that contribute to global warming, but there are many ways (and many professionals) that can combat this trend. What this means for people interested in working in climate change or global warming is that you have many points of entry into the field. This also means that the sort of salaries that you can expect to earn will also tend to be quite variable.

What Are Climate Change Jobs?

lava sampling

There are many climate change jobs available. Many individuals work in climate change activities even though their training or the normal scope of their work may be outside the realm of climate change. Although it is true that an economist or a hard scientist may find his work overlapping with matters of climate change, strictly speaking, these professionals would generally be considered outside the scope of climate change jobs. In general, jobs in climate change would typically include the following professionals (among others):

  • Environmental Scientists
  • Environmental Specialists
  • Environmental Analysts
  • Environmental Consultants and Advisors
  • Program Directors
  • Project Managers
  • Researchers and Research Fellows
  • Fundraisers and Fundraising Managers
  • Administrators

This is just a small subset of the types of jobs that are normally encountered in organizations working in climate change. They represent the reality that organizations involved in global warming need workers at all levels, from interns and researchers up to scientists, analysts, program directors and administrators. Climate change jobs therefore naturally encompass both the workers normally found in climate change organizations as well as individuals working in the field for the government, universities or other large bodies involved in work with large research budgets.

It should be clear that there is some degree of overlap in the work involved in climate change jobs. For example, an environmental engineer can work as a consultant, analyst, project manager or in administration. As a convenient starting point to understand climate change jobs and their trajectory, we will take a look at the work of environmental scientists and how their profession is expected to change in the United States in the near future.

Environmental scientists are scientists involved in research and data collection on environmental issues. Environmental scientists may have training in one of several different areas including environmental science, geology, hydrology, agricultural science, or other related fields. Environmental scientists may work for different types of organizations and in many different settings. In terms of education, environmental scientists have at least a bachelor’s degree although master’s degrees are common and may be required for some jobs.

Some workers in environmental science pursue higher education and training in the form of doctoral degrees or postdoctoral training programs. The typical work functions for environmental scientists include the collection and analysis of data and the regulatory work of keeping up with government standards and making sure that the organizations they work for are adherent to code.

What Is the Current Availability of Climate Change Jobs?

using the microscope

Climate change jobs are widely available all over the United States, encompassing the roles listed above. Workers in this field are engaged in all levels of work, from interns and entry-level researchers straight on up. An interesting facet of the field of climate change is that there are companies and organizations that specialize solely in this work, as well as government bodies, institutes and educational establishments that hire workers in this field.

Environmental scientists and other climate change workers can find themselves working for many different types of organizations. Although environmental scientists commonly work for government organizations, they may also work for consulting firms and other private organizations. Workers in environmental science commonly work in the laboratory setting, but they may be involved in fieldwork or other data collection activities. Their hours may be irregular with junior workers often working longer hours.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, reports that there were approximately 90,000 jobs for environmental scientists and specialists in 2017. The profession is expected to grow by 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is a faster rate than the projected growth in all jobs over the same time frame in the United States. The typical requirement for entry into this profession is a bachelor’s degree. Though salaries will be discussed in the next section, workers with higher levels of education, training and experience generally can expect to earn higher salaries.

In addition to education, training, and experience, other variables can impact the salary and job outlook of workers in climate change jobs. One of the important factors impacting salary and job outlook is organization. Many climate change jobs involve work for the government and some government climate change jobs in environmental science can pay well into the six-figure range.

What Are Typical Salaries for Climate Change Jobs?

walking in a sulfuric place

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for environmental scientists and specialists in 2017 was $69,400. These salaries fell within a range, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than about $41,000 and the highest 10 percent earning more than $122,510. Contrary to what some might expect, jobs for the federal government tend to pay higher than average, which we touched on earlier. The median wage for environmental scientists and specialist working or the government was $101,400.

Earnings for environmental scientists and specialists compared well to workers in other, related occupations according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. They earned slightly less than physical scientists, who had a median wage of about $78,000 in 2017. The BLS predicts that there will be an increase of nearly 10,000 jobs in this field between 2016 and 2026, which may positively impact salaries as interest in this area of international concern grows.

Conclusion

Workers in climate change jobs have the satisfaction of knowing they are not only satisfying their own interests in this exciting area of work and study but also addressing a serious world problem. Climate change is irreversible and various government organizations and other bodies have risen to the challenge of coming up with solutions to an ever-growing problem. What this means for prospective workers in climate change jobs is that they can expect a relatively high and stable salary in government work, and a prospected job growth that will exceed the national average over the next ten years.

car and windmill on the back

Is a Wind Powered Car an Actual Possibility?

In the relatively short history of the automobile, gas powered cars have dominated the market. The wind powered car, the solar powered car, and others have not been as successful. The internal combustion engine was invented during the industrial revolution and, since then, we’ve been using it to power lots and lots of things that keep our society going. However, what we didn’t realize when we were inventing the combustion engine over 100 years ago is that burning gasoline, which comes from fossil fuels, creates a lot harmful emissions. There is a lot of debate over the effect of emissions on the environment, but a significant percentage of scientists agree that we are polluting our air and our water by burning the amount of fossil fuels that we are burning. We may also be causing our planet to heat up, which could upset the balance of our climate. If the earth’s climate were to shift even slightly, large portions of the planet may suddenly become uninhabitable for humans. This would, understandably, be devastating.

car near the beach

Another issue we have with using cars powered by gasoline is that fossil fuels are a finite resource. We don’t have infinite oil. At some point, we are going to run out, because we are using the resource faster than we can replace it. Our society is very dependent on cars for transportation, and many modes of public transportation also currently use gasoline for power. In order to meet the growing need for transportation, we will have to find alternative means of power. We need to find ways to make things “go” that don’t use finite, non-renewable resources. This means, it’s time for us to turn to renewable resources. It’s time for us to seriously consider the wind powered car.

What Is Wind Power?

Wind power is the process of creating electricity, or powering a car, using the air flow that occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. Generally, wind turbines are used to harness kinetic energy from the wind and generate power. In the wind powered car, the turbines are smaller and built into the body of the car. There are 3 types of wind energy:

Offshore Wind

turbine till

This type of wind power uses very large turbines that are placed offshore, near the continental shelf. Because they are large and far out at sea, they can generate a lot of power.

Utility-Scale Wind

Utility-Scale Wind

This uses turbines that can generate 100 kilowatts to megawatts of power. These turbines are generally used to create power for electric utilities.

Distributed or “Small” Wind

windmill

This type uses small turbines to directly power a home or a small business. They are not part of a grid.

How Does It Work?

When wind moves turbines, the blades capture kinetic energy. The action of turning the blades turns that kinetic energy into mechanical energy. The rotating blades turn a shaft connect to a gearbox. The gearbox spins a generator to make electricity.

What Does a Turbine Look Like?

pinwheel

Turbines are generally at least 250 feet tall and attached to a steel tower. A hub holds 3 blades, and the “nacelle” holds the shaft, the gearbox, the generator, and the controls. The turbines measure the wind and turn themselves into the strongest wind. The blades are pitched to capture the most energy.

How Much Wind Does It Need?

Typically, the wind must be blowing at least 6 to 9 miles per hour to generate power. If the wind speed increases above 55 miles per hour, the turbines will shut down.

How Much Power Is Produced?

In a year, a wind turbine will generally produce power about 90 percent of the time. The faster the wind, the greater the production. Production from turbines is measured in a “Capacity Factor.” If a turbine has the ability to produce 18,000 megawatt-hours, but the wind only blew hard enough to produce 8,000 megawatt-hours, then the capacity factor is 45 percent. Generally, wind farms have capacity factors higher than 40 percent and are on par with coal or natural gas plants.

Windmills vs. Wind Turbines

house and turbine

A windmill and a wind turbine are not the same thing. A windmill uses the wind to produce mechanical energy to do a specific job, like grind grain. A wind turbine turns the mechanical energy into electricity.

What Is a Wind Farm?

wind farm

A wind farm is a large group of turbines built together to generate electricity for a power plant.

How Is Wind Energy Distributed?

Once the energy is generated, it heads to the power plant and is sent to consumers as electricity in the same way as any other type of energy.

Would a Wind Powered Car Work?

Wind powered cars have already been designed and tested, and they do work. Generally, turbines are built into the outside of the car and use vents to channel air toward the turbines. Most wind powered cars also need another power source for startup and to provide longer drive times. To stay environmentally friendly, most use solar power as the alternate energy source. Some use electricity and need to be recharged at home or at a charging station. These are the pros and cons of a wind powered car:

Pros

  • Very clean energy
  • Wind is sustainable
  • Wind is free

Cons

  • Wind is unpredictable
  • Aesthetics (doesn’t always look good)
  • Might be expensive up front

The other problems with wind powered cars at this point are making them go fast enough for the highway and making sure they provide enough hours of drive time. For perpetual use, you would need a relatively sunny environment to keep the solar panels charging and enough wind to drive the turbines when in motion. There are still some design kinks to work out, as well as the need to bring the costs down. As with any new technology, the startup costs can sometimes be prohibitive. However, for the future of the planet we’re going to leave our children, we need to find solutions to these problems. As we find better ways to answer these questions, wind powered cars are definitely an option for the future.

Current Designs of Wind Powered Cars

There are a few wind powered cars on the market right now. They are not widely sold or used, but they are demonstrating great strides in technology. Here are a few examples of what’s out there in wind powered cars.

Toyota Mirai

toyota car

“Mirai” means “future” in Japanese. It is currently one of only 28 fuel cell cars on the road in the UK. Its hydrogen cells are generated by the wind power. This model is capable of 37 miles per gallon and can go about 340 miles once fully charged.

The Ventomobile

This wind powered car was built in 2008 by German students. It had a wind turbine on top and ran on 3 wheels. It isn’t very fast, but it was the first truly wind powered car.

Lotus Nemesis

Some argue that this is actually the first wind powered car. It’s a hybrid that also uses electric power. The turbine is outside the car for better results. While in motion, the turbine charges the battery, thereby producing its own electricity. This was the first vehicle to place the turbine on the outside of the vehicle. The car is the creation of Tang Zhengping, who wanted to try and reduce the emissions in China, his native country. The car can reach 90 mph and the batteries need to be recharged every 2-3 days.

Formula Zero

This is a wind powered car with 4 electric motors. Its purpose is to making racing not just about speed, but about energy efficiency and utilizing natural resources. It’s quoted to have, “The thrill of Formula One, the track dynamics of the bobsled or luge, and the grace and efficiency of yacht racing.”

Conclusion

At the rate we are using our natural resources like coal and oil, it is imperative that we find alternative fuel sources over the next century. One very viable energy source is wind power, and wind powered cars. We need transportation. We live in a global economy, and we need to be able to travel. Our goal should be to make that travel easy on the environment and our wallets. Putting funds into research for better wind powered cars is an excellent step in this direction. With a little more work, wind powered cars could be one of the future methods of transportation. Or, we may see more and more vehicles that combine wind and solar power. We will have to change our expectations slightly, as clean energy cars don’t have the same sound and feel as gasoline powered cars. We have a lot of memories and nostalgia mixed in with how we feel about our cars, especially as Americans. And we should preserve that history. The era of gasoline powered vehicles was an important step in our industrial history. However, we have to move on to more sustainable ways of getting around. By embracing wind powered cars, even with their differences, we will make a huge difference in the future of our planet.

a man besides the windmill

How Green Technologies Could Lead The Way To World-Wide Economic Prosperity

Environmental sustainability is often pitted against economic prosperity by mainstream economists and politicians without realizing that these two go hand in hand. However, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who invest in green technology have long recognized that these two entities are highly complementing rather than competing.

In the past, pollution and environmental destruction were seen as an inevitable byproduct of economic prosperity. And even up to this day, the government and economists measure national wellbeing using a highly limited set of indicators that include economy, crime, education, job security, social cohesion, etc.

However, recent surveys have shown that aside from economic prosperity, a growing number of people are also concerned about the natural environment, particularly relating to the natural resources for the wellbeing of their future generations.

In a nutshell, green technology aims to mitigate or reverse the environmental impact of human activities through sustainable and eco-friendly production process or supply chain. While it often alludes to energy production that is less harmful to the environment than more traditional methods, it encompasses a myriad of inventions and innovations that address safety and health concerns, diminishing resources, looming pollution, and food and water scarcity.

Is There a Need for Green Technology?

Green technology offers valuable gifts: economic prosperity, equitable wealth distribution, job creation, a solution to the looming energy crisis and climate change, among others.

While green technology is a relatively young market, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and investors bet on its potential amidst the looming energy crisis, widespread pollution, and continuous depletion of many natural resources.

Here is the list of crises that green technology can solve or at least mitigate.

Energy Crisis

gas pump

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Economic prosperity is closely tied to having reliable and sustainable energy sources. Unfortunately, most countries still rely on fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal, which are all finite sources; generating power through these fuels is also one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to studies, the earth will run out of fossil fuels in 2088. Hence, it is imperative to address this looming problem, especially with the fact that industrialized countries obtain more than 95 percent of their energy from this finite source.

Green technology and renewable energy sources will not just solve the energy crisis, which is exacerbated by the steady increase in the world’s population and the growing demand for fuels, but will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emission and eventually avoid catastrophic climate change.

Job Insecurity

Green technology and policies that promote this market help to foster economic prosperity through the generation of “decent” jobs, which offer safer working conditions, more security, better wages, and better career prospects than “brown” jobs in polluting industries.

Studies have also suggested that mitigating climate change and pollution inevitably create high-quality employment.

Looming Poverty

Climate change and the depletion and destruction of finite natural resources can exacerbate poverty. This may sound like a paradox as they are seen as the ill effects but inescapable results of economic prosperity and growth.

children

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But there is nothing contradictory with the above-mentioned statement. Economic prosperity might be possible amidst widespread poverty due to inequitable wealth distribution. The government and traditional economists and educators further downplay the impact of the environmental condition on national wellbeing by focusing too much on indicators related to job, money, health, and education.

But with green technology whose aim is to address ecosystem degradation, pollution, natural resource depletion, and energy crisis, the poor may have a fighting chance to improve their condition. After all, they are the most affected stakeholder because they often live in the most fragile areas and have limited resources.

Furthermore, eradicating or at least mitigating the ill effects of human activities on the environment is the key to achieve and sustain economic prosperity that will reach the whole population.

Widespread Pollution

Pollution not just threatens our water and food sources, it also compromises the well-being of people and their future generation’s health and food security. Hence, one of the focal points of green technology is recycling, which mitigates the depletion of the natural resources.

smoke from the power plant

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And with more sophisticated recycling techniques, it has now become possible to construct houses and buildings that are mostly made of recycled materials. To further reduce environmental impact, scientists and engineers are creating new home, office, and building designs and features that reduce energy consumption.

Consumer and industrial products are also a great contributor to water and air pollution, according to a recent survey. This could change with green technology that aims to search and create products whose contents and production processes have a minimal impact on the environment.

With the benefits mentioned above of green technology, anyone may easily surmise that it is closely tied to sustained economic prosperity.

How Can It Aid Economic Prosperity?

clean river and ducks

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Economic prosperity, in the traditional sense, is the state of wealth and quality of life. In any country, the way to increase wealth and living standards is to promote and sustain entrepreneurship, innovation, and competition. However, this might be an outdated definition as more people believe that the environmental condition—i.e., access to green spaces, clean air and water, and ecological preservation for future generations—should also matter when measuring the national well-being.

Simply put, the natural environment should be included on the list of indicators of economic prosperity and national wellbeing if the government and economists truly want to “measure what matters most.”

Read on the list that explains how green technology can foster economic prosperity.

  • There is a market for clean technology. Due to the looming energy crisis, climate change, and diminishing natural resources, there is no other choice but to shift to this market that is worth around US$1.35 trillion annually.
  • Green technology and its recent innovations are stimulating demand for sustainably sourced goods and eco-friendly services.
  • It also enhances productivity. By using natural resources efficiently and sustainably, green technology is the key to long-term economic prosperity in which the gist is to allocate the resources to the highest value of use. At the same time, this market is drastically reducing waste and energy consumption.
  • Green technology can solve or at least improve resource bottlenecks, which are the biggest threat to long-term economic prosperity. Moreover, it reduces environmental impact and thus secures our and our future generation’s food source.
  • Boosts investor confidence in a country. Savvy entrepreneurs and investors know that most of our products and services derived from finite sources, some of which are already ruined or depleted. Fortunately, green technology has proven itself as a lucrative market, especially now that a growing number of consumers are demanding for greener products. Consumers are increasingly becoming more aware of the great strain on the natural sources, and so there is a growing preference for less polluting, safer, and healthier products and services.
  • Green technology contributes to fiscal consolidations. It may sound ironic, but a great number of highly polluting industries receive government subsidies. One good example is the

Conclusion

Despite the seemingly boundless opportunity with green technology and its auspicious impact on economic prosperity, it remains indispensable to tailor it to the specific community circumstances. Hence, the people should be made aware that every effort to reduce carbon footprint has a direct and indirect effect on their livelihood, the quality of their life, and their progeny’s well-being or even their survival.

Meanwhile, clean and green technology applies to multiple sectors, and so its impact on economic prosperity and growth is something that can’t be easily ignored. Sectors such as agriculture, energy industry, transportation, manufacturing, and building are arguably the best targets because they are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

The sectors mentioned above are great recipients of green technology because of the recent innovations in recycling and process technology, and also better access to new information and sustainably sourced materials.

However, companies that aim to adopt green technologies face barriers such as lack of information, lack of human resources and skills, lack of or inability to access alternative raw materials and chemicals, expensive process technology, among others. Consequently, the only way to pave the way for tangible economic prosperity—i.e., poverty reduction and a more fair distribution of wealth—is to identify and eliminate these obstacles.

rocky forest path

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But as a relatively new market, green technology stakeholders, the private sector, government, and NGOs have yet to create an all-encompassing process that will remove the obstacles mentioned above that deter large-scale dissemination of eco-friendly products, services, and processes.

Widespread dissemination of green technology is critical to developing countries, which are experiencing their initial phase of economic prosperity and growth that is closely tied to substantial environmental impact. During this period, they exploit local or sometimes even the global natural resources to feed the so-called progress. Failure to intervene during this most critical phase can threaten the world’s biodiversity and the very survival of humanity.

Renewable Energy Jobs and Careers

With the massive increase in interest in renewable energy, many new jobs and careers are appearing in this industry. We will discuss several of the major categories, and provide some of the issues that said areas will be focused on in the near future. If the immediate future is a bigger concern for you, you can look for current jobs listing posted here.

 

Research

Currently there is extensive research occurring on many aspects of renewable energy, such as how to allow it to better suit our needs a modern, industrialized country, as well as on how to squeeze the maximum possible efficiency out of all of the latest developments and breakthroughs. Another large area of research that isn’t directly considered renewable energy research, but that directly impacts the industry, is the research of new and more efficient batteries. With some recent dire predictions of the world’s supply of lithium running low, especially as Elon Musk plans to dramatically increase production of electric cars, with his recently introduced affordable Tesla Model 3. Lithium is a main component of our most energy dense variety of battery, the lithium-polymer battery, and with lithium-sulfur batteries being the main candidate for replacing LiPo batteries as the next step in commercial battery production, a replacement for lithium is a big issue that needs researching.

 

Engineer

While the research is producing many breakthroughs in renewable energy, it’s the engineers that take these brilliant new solutions and develop commercially viable ways to use produce them. As many of the new breakthroughs feature exotic materials that are hard to work with and produce, the engineers of tomorrow have their work cut out for them as they work tirelessly to apply these ideas into making this world a better place.

 

Install and Maintenance

Once all the research and development is said and done, it’s the job of the installers to allow the general use of these products and to help ensure the implementation of these new ideas goes along smoothly, and stays on the pace needed to help to protect the environment as these new, better technologies replace the old, polluting ones. Once installed, it comes down to the men and women who maintain these sources of renewable energy to ensure the electricity keeps flowing and electric cars keep humming along. Many maintenance crews face new and unique challenges they won’t see anywhere else working in any other fields. These include making sure the giant blades on wind turbines keep on working properly, usually hundreds of feet above the ground, and ensuring that the ethanol used to run cars in a more eco-friendly manner continues to be properly refined and distributed.

The Natural Gas Fracking Jobs Bubble Burst and its Results

As horizontal drilling has become more commercially viable, and with the increased push towards making the United States energy independent, the production of natural gas has exploded in the United States during the past few years. Recently, however, the bad press surrounding the hydraulic fracturing process, as well as the recent drop in oil prices, have lead to the popping of the fracking bubble.

While this may not seem important in regards to the energy jobs field as a whole, the results could be dramatic. This is a result of a compound of several factors all at once. First of all is the obvious one; as the bubble pops, all the lucrative new jobs that were created will disappear. This leads to a second devastating impact that can easily be overlooked; the recent surge in popularity in college degrees related to the field of hydraulic fracturing, such as petroleum engineering, will enter a job market that was a lucrative field hiring anyone who was even remotely qualified to one where the opportunities are sparse, and the wages are nowhere near as lucrative as before.

The shale oil deposits are quickly depleted, so as the easily accessible gas pockets are removed, new wells must be drilled at an increasing rate to maintain the same amount of natural gas being extracted. By 2020, the major reserves will be largely depleted, and by 2040 will be well below the amount predicted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is compounded by the fact that half of the natural gas producers that were predicted by the EIA. This will accelerate the popping of the natural gas bubble as investors notice the major discrepancies that will appear between the overly optimistic predictions and the actually results, and will lose faith in the industry. This failure to meet the predictions will likely result in at least a slowing of hiring by the oil companies, if not outright layoffs, depending on the severity of the under performance and how much natural gas is actually extracted.

The disillusionment of investors will result in the investors selling their shares, which will cause the stock prices to drop. As this occurs, the oil companies will likely have further layoffs as they try to cut their losses. This will also cause an increase in the price of oil, which has many wider economic impacts that are outside the scope of this article.

Given all the factors, we can see that the natural gas industry is already in a decline, and, barring any major discoveries of extremely large natural gas reserves, is likely on it’s way to popping, with devastating effects on both the natural gas and energy job markets, as well as possibly the US economy in general, depending on how much of an impact the natural gas has had on the general oil prices when the bubble pops.

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Further Background/Reference