CHOOSING A CAREER / OCT. 07, 2014
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How to Become a Biomass Power Plant Manager in the US

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Biomass is a renewable energy source generated through the combustion of organic waste material to produce steam power that is then converted to electricity. Biomass power plant managers oversee operations at the facility where this process is conducted.

What Does a Biomass Power Plant Manager Do?

Biomass power plant managers have oversight authority and are accountable for each and every function on the plant floor. Their specific duties include:

  • Reviewing the production logs and reports to ensure that work is being performed optimally and that there are no unnecessary lags that impact upon electricity generation
  • Examine the time sheets to confirm the hours worked by the employees
  • Devise work policies and practices relating to employee welfare, occupational safety and environmental protection to ensure that working conditions are optimal
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations such as those relating to licensing, waste disposal and noise regulation
  • Negotiate with union leaders where workers are unionized
  • Oversee testing and repair of equipment to ensure it is in good working order
  • Monitor the operating status of the plant by observing the control parameters and other indicators with a view to maximizing capacity and minimizing costs
  • Manage the financial affairs of the plant including budgeting, purchasing and supply and payroll
  • Take stock of consumer electricity demands and determine ways in which the plant can improve its operations to meet them
  • Prepare annual performance reports, strategies, long and short-term objectives

Qualifications

To become a biomass power plant manager, you will need an undergraduate degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics course. For example, you can pursue a degree in biotechnology or industrial engineering. The course will covers subjects such as:

  • Mechanics and physics
  • System design and installation
  • Applied mathematics
  • Computer applications
  • Evaluation methodology and analysis

Since it is a managerial position, you can also be eligible for the job if you have training in management courses such as business administration or operations management and supervision.

Additional qualifications include:

  • Working knowledge of plant equipment and computer software programs used in managing plant operations
  • Certifications that demonstrate the levels of relevant training achieved and key competencies learnt
  • Work experience of not less than two years

Skills

As a manager there are various skills that you need to demonstrate to qualify for the job:

  • Strong leadership skills and the ability to motivate and influence your team
  • Ability to effectively manage staff performance and terminate when necessary
  • Accountability, decision-making and organizational skills
  • Complex problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Adaptability and willingness to learn more about plant operations
  • Effective time and resource management skills

Salary

The salary of a plant manager depends on his level of experience and the plant’s production output. The average per annum salary range is:

Entry Level 

$55,250

Mid Career

$90,790

Successful

$152,590

Source: Sokanu

Work Environment

Biomass power plant managers spend most of their time in the facility alternating between their offices and the plant floor to provide effective oversight and supervision. They work regular hours, although they can put in overtime during the end-of-financial year reporting season or when plant equipment is undergoing repair. The rest of the time is spent conducting administrative functions such as attending meetings with stakeholders, overseeing purchasing and supply functions and interviewing new staff for jobs on the plant floor.

Career Prospects

Renewable energy continues to take center stage as a sustainable alternative to non-renewable sources such as fossil fuel. Consequently, the demand for biomass and other renewable energy sources is on an upward trend. This means that there will be more opportunities for biomass power plant managers in the foreseeable future.

If you have an interest in promoting sustainable use of resources, have undertaken an engineering or related degree course and would like work in a managerial position where you are actually involved in generating renewable energy, then this is the job for you.

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