Geothermal Power Potential Offers Many Jobs

In the first systematic examination of employment in the geothermal industry in 30 years, a new report from the Geothermal Energy Association reports that expanding geothermal power could create 100,000 new jobs.

“Looking forward, employment is likely to increase,” the report states. “More power purchase agreements have been signed for new geothermal power plants, and the powerful federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been expanded to include new geothermal facilities.” “These geothermal resources are identified and waiting to be developed, with even greater long-term potential,” According to Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, “They could provide power for 5.6 million households, and inject $15-$20 billion of new investment into the economy at a time when both energy and economic stimulus are urgently needed.” Today, the geothermal power industry provides 2,700 MW of power in four western states — California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. A recent estimate produced by the Western Governors’ Association’s geothermal task force indicates a near-term potential to expand this to 8,300 MW in eleven western states. According to GEA, “this would result in the creation of over 100,000 new power plant, manufacturing and construction jobs.” By achieving a 5,600 MW expansion of the geothermal power industry, the GEA report includes a summary of estimates for the western states’ potential in geothermal and employment options.

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