The GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo hosted nearly 2,000 delegates in Las Vegas, Nevada for an event that featured the latest technologies in geothermal, and frank discussions on opportunities and challenges internationally as well as within the United States. Optimism was felt throughout the conference and was underscored by the release of Geothermal Energy Association’s (GEA) release of a report featuring more than 700 global geothermal projects.
“Each year, the GEA brings together the geothermal business community from all around the world at its EXPO,” noted GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “The sense from the industry was strong optimism for sustained growth in the global market despite lagging U.S. markets, and hope that as the United States works to meet higher state RPS requirements and new climate change goals the value of geothermal will be recognized which will spur growth.”
The report released prior to the event estimated that projects in the pipeline would more than double current worldwide capacity from the 12,000 Megawatts (MW) expected to be on-line by year’s end, and beyond that “developers are actively engaged with 27,000 MW of geothermal resource globally.”
In the U.S., GEA pointed out that as the percentage of electricity produced from intermittent sources increases, the stress on an aging power system designed for fossil fuels encourages geothermal’s continuing role as an important part of the power supply mix.
“The market will turn around as geothermal’s full value to the grid is recognized,” Gawell said. “Its baseload capacity makes it valuable for replacing retiring fossil fuel facilities, and its ability to provide flexible support will add to power system reliability.”
This year’s gathering incorporated a wide range of activities supporting U.S. companies working in the international market. Both the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development supported delegations from Turkey and East Africa, respectively. Presentations in the EXPO hall featured delegates from several countries seeking to develop their geothermal power potential. GEA also held a standing room only dialogue with U.S. companies discussing how to expand U.S. exports of goods and services in key world markets.
A wide range of technology was on display at the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, which featured 125 booths. EXPO booths highlighted the latest in technology to support today’s power projects and tomorrow’s “enhanced geothermal system” developments.
At the event, GEA also held its annual members meeting and elected a new President for the Association. Craig Mataczynski, President and CEO of Gradient Resources, was elected as GEA’s President. Speaking in the Opening Session of the event, Mataczynski laid out a bold new vision for the industry: “to contribute in excess of 5% of the electric energy needs in the United States and globally.”