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Successful annual GRC and GEA events and its branding

Opening Session of the GRC Annual Meeting 2013, Las Vegas (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Alexander Richter 23 Oct 2013

While in need of a more unified branding, the combined events of the GRC Annual Meeting and the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo were a success, with also interesting and important side events held separately.

The annually held largest geothermal event took place in Las Vegas in the beginning of this month. Organized jointly by the U.S. based Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) and the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the event featured the 37th GRC Annual Meeting and the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo.

Both events have been held separately and still jointly, a somewhat difficult set up and somewhat confusing for outsiders. But it is to the day the largest annual geothermal gathering. Both events, likely due to the difficult government situation and a somewhat slower U.S. geothermal market has had difficulties attracting the same amount of attendees like in previous years.

While the event was missing somewhat the intimacy and easy access to people of the previous events in Reno and San Diego, Las Vegas clearly was an experience. There was a large crowd from Turkey at the event, specially invited by – I believe the U.S. Trade Department – and also from Kenya and Ethiopia. But they seem to have been tied up in meetings held separately from the main events, the conference and the trade show by the Americans, essentially limiting their time for networking with international exhibitors at the trade show. Not a fantastic set up.

The events were kicked off with a reception of the Geothermal Expo on the evening preceding the main events and the next day saw the largest gathering, the Opening Session of the GRC Annual Meeting, with attendees from 37 different countries and relayed greetings from Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who has probably been one of the most supportive U.S. geothermal politicians for the geothermal sector. .

At the opening session, Louis E. Capuano, Jr., President of the GRC, spoke of the task facing attendees. “We have a duty to tell the true success story of geothermal by working together with other organizations. We can make this happen through education.”

With overall seemingly less attendees then in previous years, the events were still a great success drawing around 1,600 participants for both the Annual Meeting and the Trade Show.

The Annual Meeting had this year very little representation from the business side of things and little financial content, and again with a rather technical focus with nearly 150 technical presentations totaling 50 hours, bringing the latest research from around the world. On display were over 40 posters.

Around one hundred attended the pre-meeting workshops on Geothermal Power Plants and Exploration, and nearly 80 ventured out into the Nevada desert and to the Imperial Valley in California on GRC Fieldtrips to view some superb geology and geothermal power plants.

Demonstrating the focus on international involvement at the meeting the GRC and GEA co-hosted the 6th International Luncheon with representatives from Ethiopia and Kenya reporting on the exciting developments in geothermal power in their countries. This popular event attracted 194 attendees.

In an again great effort, the annual GRC Charity Golf Tournament was held at the Angel Park Golf Club. Over 90 golfers played for charity with all profits going to the local chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The GEA’s Geothermal Energy Expo featured around 125 exhibiting companies and is a great way for companies to reach potential buyers.

Overall though the event should be a more tightly knit combined event and held under a common brand identity, to separate this into two separate events that the industry and everyone else is to name separately is tricky and does not portrait a necessary unified voice of the industry, but this is my personal opinion. Even joint messages prior and after the events from both the Geothermal Resources Council and the GEA would be helpful. We have to think of how people, such as investors, banks etc are viewing us. A bit of reflection would actually be helpful and we have to ask ourselves how do we want to be seen by the outside world?

And importantly, while the technical elements are a crucial element of the industry, it has to be made sure that business and the financial side of the industry is be built into the event more than has been the case this year.

I had the opportunity to attend two other events held in conjunction with the GRC and GEA events and it is a shame that they haven´t been named before. The GEA held a fantastic Communication Workshop for Marketing and Communication representatives from the industry lead by the great team of the communication firm Rosen Group, which provides communication services for GEA. To see representatives from competing companies in the industry to get together to discuss ways on how we can more efficiently promote geothermal and the industry is wonderful to see. I encourage the people involved to keep up these efforts.

Than at the other event, the group The California Geothermal Energy Collaborative hosted the first annual Women in Geothermal (WING) reception followed by discussions.  The reception was primarily held for networking with brief remarks about the objectives of WinG and to solicit input about programs that help support our objectives. We hope to follow up on the results of the event.

Source: GRC release via PR Web