Hydropower technician

A hydropower technician

Description

Hydropower technicians install and maintain systems in hydropower plants. They perform inspections, analyse problems and carry out repairs. They ensure the turbines operate in compliance with regulations, and assist the hydropower engineers in the construction of turbines.

Hydropower technicians typically o the following:

  • Monitor and control activities associated with hydropower generation.
  • Operate plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, and battery banks.
  • Monitor equipment operation and performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance.
  • Perform equipment maintenance and repair as necessary.
  • Operate high voltage switches or related devices in hydropower stations.
  • Identify or address malfunctions of hydroelectric plant operational equipment, such as generators, transformers, or turbines.
  • Inspect water-powered electric generators or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric plants to verify proper operation or to determine maintenance or repair needs.
  • Implement load or switching orders in hydroelectric plants, in accordance with specifications or instructions.
  • Start, adjust, or stop generating units, operating valves, gates, or auxiliary equipment in hydroelectric power generating plants.
  • Perform preventive or corrective containment or cleanup measures in hydroelectric plants to prevent environmental contamination.
  • Maintain or repair hydroelectric plant electrical, mechanical, or electronic equipment, such as motors, transformers, voltage regulators, generators, relays, battery systems, air compressors, sump pumps, gates, or valves.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to hydropower technician:

hydropower plant technician
mechanical engineer, hydropower
hydroelectric technician
hydropower mechanical engineer
hydropower mechanical technician
marine energy technician
hydroelectric plant technician
hydroelectric mechanical engineer
tidal power technician
wave power technician

Working conditions

Hydropower technicians work around heavy equipment and must wear protective gear and clothing and follow safety procedures to prevent injuries. Technicians spend their work day on their feet, sometimes standing or kneeling to make repairs in confined spaces. They may also climb stairs and ladders. The job can be physically demanding so physical stamina and fitness is required. Technicians work full-time hours, usually 40 hours per week. They often work in 8- or 12-hour shifts, and occasionally work overtime to make emergency repairs as needed.

Minimum qualifications

Most hydropower technicians have an associate’s degree in engineering technology, renewable energy environmental science, or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire technicians who hold a bachelor’s degree. Technicians usually participate in an apprenticeship or some form of work-study program at a hydroelectric facility or related industry while they are in school. 

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Hydropower technician is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Hydropower technician career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to hydropower technician.

geothermal power plant operator
hydroelectric plant operator
solar power plant operator
energy conservation officer
fossil-fuel power plant operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of hydropower technician. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of hydropower technician with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

hydropower engineer
energy systems engineer
electric power generation engineer
solar energy engineer
power distribution engineer

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of hydropower technician.

  • Energy transformation: The processes undergone by energy when changing its form from one state into the other.
  • Energy: Power capacity in the form of mechanical, electrical, heat, potential, or other energy from chemical or physical resources, which can be used to drive a physical system.
  • Energy performance of buildings: Factors that contribute to lower energy consumption of buildings. Building and renovation techniques used to achieve this. Legislation and procedures regarding energy performance of buildings.
  • Technical drawings: Drawing software and the various symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles and page layouts used in technical drawings.
  • Electrical power safety regulations: The compliance with safety measures which need to be taken during the installation, operation, and maintenance of constructions and equipment which function in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power, such as the appropriate safety gear, equipment handling procedures, and preventive actions.
  • Oceanography: The scientific discipline that studies oceanic phenomena such as marine organisms, plate tectonics, and the geology of the ocean bottom.
  • Engineering processes: The systematic approach to the development and maintenance of engineering systems.
  • Energy efficiency: Field of information concerning the reduction of the use of energy. It encompasses calculating the consumption of energy, providing certificates and support measures, saving energy by reducing the demand, encouraging efficient use of fossil fuels, and promoting the use of renewable energy.
  • Environmental engineering: The application of scientific and engineering theories and principles aimed at improving the environment and sustainability, such as the provision of clean habitation necessities (such as air, water, and land) for humans and other organisms, for environmental remediation in the event of pollution, sustainable energy development, and improved waste management and waste reduction methods.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
  • Electric generators: The principles and operations of devices that can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, such as dynamos and alternators, rotors, stators, armatures, and fields.
  • Renewable energy technologies: The different types of energy sources which cannot be depleted, such as wind, solar, water, biomass, and biofuel energy. The different technologies used to implement these types of energy to an increasing degree, such as wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, photovoltaics, and concentrated solar power.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of hydropower technician.

  • Perform risk analysis: Identify and assess factors that may jeopardise the success of a project or threaten the organisation’s functioning. Implement procedures to avoid or minimise their impact.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
  • Adjust engineering designs: Adjust designs of products or parts of products so that they meet requirements.
  • Use technical drawing software: Create technical designs and technical drawings using specialised software.
  • Manage engineering project: Manage engineering project resources, budget, deadlines, and human resources, and plan schedules as well as any technical activities pertinent to the project.
  • Design electric power systems: Construct generation plants, distribution stations and systems and transmission lines to get energy and new technology where it needs to go. Use high tech equipment, research, maintenance and repair to keep these systems running. Further design and plan layout of the buildings to be constructed.
  • Promote innovative infrastructure design: Throughout the coordination of an engineering project, promote the development of infrastructure that is innovative and sustainable, in line with the latest developments in the field.
  • Operate scientific measuring equipment: Operate devices, machinery, and equipment designed for scientific measurement. Scientific equipment consists of specialised measuring instruments refined to facilitate the acquisition of data.
  • Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
  • Monitor electric generators: Monitor the operation of electric generators in power stations in order to ensure functionality and safety, and to identify need for repairs and maintenance.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hydropower technician. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Mechanical engineering: Discipline that applies principles of physics, engineering and materials science to design, analyse, manufacture and maintain mechanical systems.
  • Power engineering: Subdiscipline of energy and electrical engineering which specialises in the generation, transmission, distribution, and usage of electrical power through the connection of electrical devices to motors, generators, and transformers, such as an AC-DC power adapter.
  • Scientific research methodology: The theoretical methodology used in scientific research involving doing background research, constructing an hypothesis, testing it, analysing data and concluding the results.
  • Automation technology: Set of technologies that make a process, system, or apparatus operate automatically through the use of control systems.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of hydropower technician. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Conduct engineering site audits: Collect structural, electrical and related site information by conducting engineering site audits. These audits are used for the design of engineering solution such as solar power systems.
  • Maintain records of maintenance interventions: Keep written records of all repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, including information on the parts and materials used, etc.
  • Promote sustainable energy: Promote the use of renewable electricity and heat generation sources to organisations and individuals, in order to work towards a sustainable future and encourage sales of renewable energy equipment, such as solar power equipment.
  • Research ocean energy projects: Conduct wave and tidal energy project research and develop the projects from concept to delivery.
  • Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
  • Ensure safety in electrical power operations: Monitor and control operations on an electrical power transmission and distribution system in order to ensure that major risks are controlled and prevented, such as electrocution risks, damage to property and equipment, and instability of transmission or distribution.
  • Promote sustainability: Promote the concept of sustainability to the public, colleagues and fellow professionals through speeches, guided tours, displays and workshops.
  • Inspect facility sites: Inspect the land of a possible construction site for distribution facilities by measuring and interpreting various data and calculations by using the appropriate equipment. Check if the field work is conform with plans and specifications.
  • Perform scientific research: Gain, correct or improve knowledge about phenomena by using scientific methods and techniques, based on empirical or measurable observations.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Promote environmental awareness: Calculate the carbon footprint of business processes and other practices in order to promote sustainability and to raise awareness for the environmental impact.
  • Coordinate electricity generation: Communicate the current demand of electricity generation to electricity generation workers and facilities in order to ensure that the generation of electrical power can be increased or decreased accordingly.
  • Draw blueprints: Draw layout specifications for machinery, equipment and building structures. Specify which materials should be used and the size of the components. Show different angles and views of the product.
  • Perform minor repairs to equipment: Conduct routine maintenance on equipment. Recognise and identify minor defects in equipment and make repairs if appropriate.
  • Perform project management: Manage and plan various resources, such as human resources, budget, deadline, results, and quality necessary for a specific project, and monitor the project’s progress in order to achieve a specific goal within a set time and budget.
  • Replace large components: Dismantle and reassemble equipment or system parts in order to replace large defective elements such as generators or engines.

ISCO group and title

3113 – Electrical engineering technicians


References
  1. Hydropower technician – ESCO
  2. What Do Hydroelectric Plant Technicians Do? – Owlguru
  3. Hydroelectric Plant Technicians – Firsthand.co
  4. Featured image: By USAID – Public Domain
Last updated on January 4, 2023

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