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An estimated employment number of 200,000 in the global geothermal sector

Work on pipes at Olkaria, Kenya (source: flickr/ lydurs, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 30 May 2016

IRENA estimates around 154,000 jobs in the global geothermal sector today. We consider an additional 50,000 to be added in the context of geothermal development in Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa.

In its annual review for 2015, the International Renewable Energy Agency reports on job figures for the global renewable energy sector in 2014.

In 2014, renewable energy jobs reached an estimated 7.7 million, excluding large hydropower.

This is an increase of 18% from the estimate reported for 2014 and there is a continued regional shift towards Asia, especially in manufacturing.

Looking at geothermal specifically, IRENA provides some conflicting data. On the one hand they estimate 160,000 jobs in geothermal, they talk about 104,600 jobs in the geothermal power and heat sector. We assume that this is related to the geothermal heat pump sector.  According to IRENA, about 7,300 jobs were added compared to the previous reporting period.

IRENA_employment_renewables

We consider the data to be a bit unclear and likely not taking into consideration geothermal jobs in Southeast Asia and Africa.

If we consider the United States to employ around 35,000 employees, Germany around 17,000, France 33,000 and the rest of the EU around 54,000 in the geothermal sector, then nations like Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya and Turkey must add significantly to those numbers.

Just taking into consideration that the U.S. represent today around 25% of installed capacity with limited ongoing development, but most of the development happening in Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya and so on, than we estimate the employment in those countries to add significantly to the numbers presented by IRENA.

In a report on Indonesian capacity building needs, it is reported that around 1.7 full-time jobs for technical personnel for each additional installed MW of capacity in the United States. So considering around 20,000 MW in development in the world today, we look at around 34,000 additional jobs. … so estimating around 10-15,000 MW planned in Indonesia, Kenya, Turkey and the Philippines alone, and a likely higher numbers of jobs per MW in development , we estimate an additional 50,000 jobs to be accounted for in the context of the IRENA figures.