Unemployment is on the rise across the country, but one sector might offer hope for laid-off workers.
According to the Federal Bureau of Land Management, applications for renewable energy projects have more than quadrupled in the past four years. The Bureau has opened new field offices in California, Nevada, Wyoming, and Arizona just to handle the added load.
Those offices should have plenty to keep them busy. The BLM says it's made 100 million acres of land available to lease for these projects, along with another 80 million acres of National Forest System lands.
As of January, 154 alternative energy developments had been proposed. Two-thirds of them are geothermal power plants. Those tend to be situated in the West
The BLM says geothermal development on public lands in the West could produce enough electricity by 2015 to power about 8 million homes.
As the recession grinds on and layoffs increase, growth in the clean energy economy might be the relief Americans need.
I'm Jill Cordes reporting.