A week of geothermal meetings in Sacramento, California revolved around the Geothermal Energy Association’s (GEA) Geothermal Energy Expo and the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) meetings, held annually as co-located events.
Kicking off the events, on Friday, October 22, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (see photo) joined GEA's Executive Director Karl Gawell, GEA's Director of Events and Marketing Kathy Kent, Jeremy McGrath, Business Development Project Manager, Ram Power, and Jared Potter, Cofounder, President, and CEO of Potter Drilling to announce the GEA quarterly numbers and jobs reports. They also showcased examples of the work geothermal companies were doing to move the industry forward. Mayor Johnson declared October 23 through 27 Geothermal Energy Week in Sacramento.
On October 23, the GEA’s Members Meeting was held in tandem with a GEA Workshop on Climate Change, attended by more than 75 participants from GEA companies and related organizations. Award-winning author Eugene Linden delivered an address. New GEA members elected to the Board of Directors were Halley Dickey of TAS, Tom King of US Renewables Group, Curt Rich of UTC and Ann Robertson-Tait of GeothermEx.
State and federal government representatives attending the program included Dave Mehl, California Air Resources Board, Pablo Gutierrez, Geothermal Program, California Energy Commission, Danielle Osborn Mills, Center for Energy Efficiency Renewable Technologies, Kermit Witherbee, BLM, JoAnn Milliken, US DOE, Ryan Mulholland, Department of Commerce, John McKinsey, Stoel Rives and John Pierce, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
The Geothermal Energy Expo opened on October 24. The 2010 expo showcased projects, equipment, services, and state of the art technology from exhibitors, both international and domestic. The expo also brought new talent to the industry, with a virtual job fair connecting new applicants with the industry’s leading companies and complimentary admission available to college students.
The sold-out Expo Hall featured companies including Halliburton, Ormat, Stoel Rives LLP, Shaw, Calpine, Geothermal Resource Group, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Enel Green Power, Gradient Resource, Power Engineers, Ruen Drilling Incorporated, Islandsbanki, and Ram Power Corp.
By closing time October 26, a record number of attendees, over 2,500 from all 50 states had made the event the largest gathering of geothermal energy leaders in the world. The 162 exhibitors themselves came from 34 different states and 10 countries.
“The strong growth of the geothermal industry is clearly reflected in this expo, which continues to bring more and more people to see the promise that clean and renewable geothermal power presents.” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell in a statement. “It’s not just here at home. The U.S. is the leader in geothermal power, and other countries look to America for its expertise. That’s why we had representatives from across the globe at this year’s expo.”
With new geothermal power projects in progress in fifteen states from the Pacific to the Gulf Coast, the Geothermal Energy Expo has been rapidly expanding, with the number of exhibitors more than doubling since 2008.
The GEA report “Green Jobs through Geothermal Energy,” released during the Expo, showed that the industry is creating more jobs than conventional energy and is creating jobs that are permanent, full-time, and often provide a higher wage; in some cases with pay that doubles county and state averages. The report found that the federal stimulus, tax incentives, and strong state renewable standards continue to fuel the growth in geothermal power and job creation.
Every geothermal project that came online in 2009 took advantage of the tax reimbursement provisions of the stimulus bill, which helped maintain momentum for new projects and continue to create new jobs in America. Four of the top five states with geothermal power under development have substantial renewable electricity standards. In addition, the benefits of the stimulus to the geothermal industry have yet to be fully realized. About 95% of the projects receiving ARRA funding are either less than 50% complete or have yet to break ground.
The 2011 Expo will be held in San Diego from Oct. 23-26, 2011.
To see RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s Stephen Lacey’s take on the Geothermal Energy Expo, play the video below.
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