Renewable Energy Heating UpRenewable Energy 2

Although it hasn’t received as much fan-fare as the Health Informatics boom, one doesn’t need a crystal ball to understand that the renewable energy sector is heating up. During what analysts estimate is an 18% unemployment downturn nationwide, solar energy jobs have more than doubled. According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, solar opportunities are expected to increase at a rate of 26% per year going forward.

Geo-thermal energy is expected to boom as a result of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), an investment that is essentially equivalent to the ARRA investment in Health Informatics ($90b). The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) estimates that 1,000 employed workers are needed for each geo-thermal project. Although these projects have long lead times, the boom should be in full bloom just about now.

The commercialization of second and third generation biofuels is projected to result in 610,000 new jobs in bio-energy by 2022 including 190,000 direct new green jobs.

Growth in hydro power and wind power has stalled only because of some long-awaited, and needed policy changes (Renewable Electricity Standard, or RES). A recent study conducted by Navigant Consulting focused on just how many jobs could be created if hydropower was expanded under either a strong national RES (25% by 2025) or a weak RES (10% by 2025).  The number of jobs that would be created is staggering.  Under the strong RES scenario, it is estimated that 1,400,000 cumulative jobs across the country would be created by 2025, including 420,000 direct jobs, 280,000 indirect jobs and 700,000 induced jobs.

Global Warming – A New Industry?

But no notice has been given to another growth sector – likely because there is nothing positive about the catalyst, global warming.

In 2010, the Pentagon declared in its Quadrennial Defense Review that climate changes are increasing the frequency of natural disaster with the consequence of increased military conflict in vulnerable areas; an admission that climate change is so significant that it now ranks highly as a defense issue.

German insurer and re-insurer, Munich Re, estimates that the cost of natural disaster in North America in the last three decades has been $34b/year. Disaster Response Certification now appears with frequency on resumes and subject matter experts in disaster response represents a viable career field.

Clearly disaster relief and emergency response represent a hot (no pun intended), new recruiting niche. I don’t see that on anybody’s radar!