Audio (26 June 2013): Media preview for GEA’s Third Annual National Geothermal Summit, Reno Nevada.
RENO (June 28, 2013) – On the heels of President Obama’s statement on climate change, the Geothermal Energy Association gathered the industry this week in Reno for the third annual
National Geothermal Summit (#GEASummit2013). Meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, industry leaders, government officials, and other power sector representatives from the United States and abroad held critical discussions on what is needed to move geothermal forward.
The event kicked off with keynote presentations by Western state agencies. The panelists, including Stacey Crowley, Director, Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, and Karen Edson, Vice President, Policy and Client Services, California ISO, noted new and interesting opportunities for geothermal. As intermittent power grows, states are faced with an urgent need for power that can fill in the gaps and keep the system reliable. Experts at the Summit asserted that geothermal technologies can be part of the solution, with near zero emissions. Panelists stressed that geothermal shouldn’t be simply considered a baseload technology anymore, but rather a firm yet flexible energy option that can meet the needs of today’s power systems. Crowley pointed out that as Nevada implements SB123, which will accelerate the closing of coal plants, the need to bridge the gap will provide another opportunity for geothermal.
GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell remarked: “The industry has seen slow but steady growth over the past decade. The industry has had outstanding support from the Obama Administration. We’ve seen an average of 4% growth per year, but we would like to see 4% per month. How do we get there?”
Utility and industry representatives discussed whether the value of geothermal power to the system was being recognized, particularly its minimal system integration costs and high reliability values. Industry spokespeople noted that in order to support geothermal expansion, its full value must be recognized in the procurement process. It was observed that as the power grid adds more intermittent renewables to address RPS or climate policies, reliability problems and integration costs are expected to grow making geothermal more attractive. Carl Stills, Interim Energy Manager, Imperial Irrigation District, presented a new initiative that would couple geothermal power expansion of up to 1,000 MW, while helping to resolve the environmental problems of the Salton Sea.
The Summit highlighted opportunities not just in California and Nevada but other key geothermal states including Utah, Washington and Oregon, that are looking to expand their geothermal production, and are supporting policies and programs to do that.
The Summit also heard from companies working with advanced EGS technology. The development of EGS technology will improve the economics and offerings of geothermal energy, panelist Aason Mandell, Chief Commercial Officer, AltaRock Energy noted. The group heard from a panel of companies that have just completed successful demonstrations of EGS technologies on how EGS technology could expand geothermal production.
The Summit hosted the third annual student competition held by the U.S. Department of Energy. The University of Rochester took home the top prize, highlighting a solution to leverage geothermal energy at a superfund site. Emphasizing the Obama Administration's pledge to accelerate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored the 2013 National Geothermal Student Competition. The intercollegiate contest among America's leading universities is designed to advance the understanding of geothermal energy by exploring solutions and technologies that reduce the cost and risks associated with geothermal development while providing invaluable experience in the field. This year, interdisciplinary student teams focused on developing a geothermal enterprise that could lead to breakthroughs in their home states. The U.S. Department of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce America's dependence on foreign oil through geothermal solutions.
Reno is a fitting location for the Summit. The Biggest Little City is home to seven of the largest geothermal operators, including Ormat, ElectraTherm, Enel and Terra-Gen, as well as many emerging developers. Nevada is No. 1 in the nation for geothermal energy production per capita, generating more than 110 watts per person, while the City of Reno is the only sizeable U.S. city that produces enough geothermal energy to support the city’s entire residential power load.
With installed geothermal capacity on track to surpass 12,000 MW globally by the end of the year in 25 countries, and over 60 countries reported to have projects in development, the industry will reconvene at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 for the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, which will be an exciting international gathering of geothermal companies, academics, financiers, policy leaders, students, and other individuals. This is the premier gathering to learn about the latest developments in geothermal energy. Last year, the GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Expo hosted representatives from more than 39 countries. Participants from six continents were present. In 2013, an even broader attendance is anticipated. For more information, please visit
For more information, please contact Shawna Seldon, The Rosen Group, 917 971 7852 or
About the Geothermal Energy Association:
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association comprised of U.S. companies that support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects.
For more information, please visit http://www.geo-energy.org/. Check out GEA’s YouTube Channel.
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