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Geothermal Energy Industry Workers

Outlook

The United States leads the world in installed geothermal capacity, but the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) reports that the "vast majority of geothermal resources in the U.S. remain undeveloped." This suggests that job opportunities will increase as these resources are developed. Improved technological advances, such as more powerful drilling tools, have helped the geothermal energy industry grow. Employment opportunities are greatest in the West for the direct use, or drilling, of geothermal energy, and in the Midwest for the manufacture of geothermal heat pumps. However, with advances in technology, employment opportunities will be plentiful throughout the United States. Long delays in obtaining geothermal land leases from the government could hinder the growth of this industry. Additionally, growth in geothermal capacity may slow because of declining prices for fossil fuel substitutes like natural gas and tax incentives that favor other renewables over geothermal power. However, the GEA says that "geothermal generation continues to grow steadily as developers bring the occasionally new plant online, expand existing facilities, or find ways to make current plants more efficient."

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