Engineering Career Resources

Power Engineer Job Description

Power Engineer Job Description

Power engineers, or power systems engineers, work within the broader field of energy engineering and their job primarily involves designing and developing renewable, energy efficent power grids and utility systems. They research and implement ways to integrate renewable power technology and are often involved in public works projects, and employed on federal projects that involve the integration of large power grids.

Power engineers are responsible for maintaining a network of components which convert different forms of energy into electricity and for managing any of the three main subsystems of power engineering: the generation subsystem, the transmission subsystem, or the distribution subsystem. The engineers are also responsible for the electrical devices that are attached to these systems, which include transformers, generators, and motors. Power engineers' duties typically include making sure that all the devices are functioning properly and that they meet safety regulations.

Skills and qualifications

An electrical engineering degree prepares the upcoming engineer for general power plant operations. Necessary skills of power engineers begin with a general understanding of power plants. Established power engineers demonstrate traditional skills such as awareness of efficient system design. An engineer who understands how to design and optimize a process for maximum efficiency is what a perspective employer expects. It not only helps to qualify the power engineer for the job, but validates probable cost efficiency to the employer. 

Power engineers not only have to hone their current skills, but be willing to gain new ones. Understanding how automation of systems operates allows for greater proficiency. One of the upcoming components of power engineering is an increased demand for computer and software engineering. Understanding high tech cyber security and having a vast amount of internet tech skills will be an expectation of any employer. 

In this day and age, it is important that power engineers are willing to think outside of the box. Power engineering is an evolving profession, one which, if only acknowledged from a traditional perspective, could leave an even larger gap in the profession than already projected. It used to be a subdiscipline of electrical engineering before it emerged as a field in its own right.

A growing number of power engineers are working on projects that involve integrating green technologies for the purpose of reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency, so it is essential that engineers keep up to date with latest research and technologies in this sector.


Creating power grid technology is a large portion of power engineers' daily duties, whether they are employed at power plants, industrial facilities, or in residential areas. Power engineers are responsible for making sure that power grids are safe for operation and that all the elements, including generators, turbines, pumps, air conditioning systems, and heat exchangers, are working properly and meet all the relevant safety regulations and quality standards.

Power engineers will typically meet with other engineers and clients to discuss current or future projects, and inspect existing installations to make sure that everything is in working order. When preparing to install new systems, they will usually perform detailed calculations and analyses to determine the specifications and standards for construction, installation, or manufacturing.