News

Covid-19 and the impact on our lives and business – beyond geothermal

Covid-19 sign at U.S. highway
Alexander Richter 16 Mar 2020

The covid-19 situation has its grip on our daily lives and business. Understand that people are affected quite differently depending on their location and their business. Let us make sure to stay healthy, sane and supportive of each other.

This is going to be a somewhat different article that is not trying to spread pessimism, yet talk about what is going on and how it will likely affect our lives beyond our geothermal activities.

The past 5+ years, my Icelandic colleagues have been working diligently on putting together the “greatest ever” World Geothermal Congress. As President of IGA, I have been heavily involved together with my colleagues on the IGA Board and the Steering Committee. As the virus news hit us first in January, nobody could foresee that things would so dramatically change everything around us so quickly.

You might have realised that news reporting here on ThinkGeoEnergy has not been up the game, which is mostly due to the heavy work going on behind the scenes. For me the World Geothermal Congress was to be the great highlight of my career joining around 3,000 geothermalists from all over the world here in Iceland. So for everyone it was an incredibly hard decision to having to cancel the event now for April 2020, yet staying positive and pushing it by a bit more than 12 months to May 2021. I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard on making this difficult decision and all the support we have received from sponsors, partners and stakeholders across the world.

But let us look at the world and the challenges faced not only by us but our peers across the wide geothermal spectrum globally. Our Chinese friends under lock down with huge impacts to their economic livelihood, same with our colleagues in Italy and as time continues increasingly in other countries as well.

It now seems to effect everyone to the core. Travel is banned, borders are closed, schools are closed, public gatherings banned, airlines laying off thousands etc. clearly the impact is humongous and we cannot estimate the long-term effects the crisis will have.

So where does this leave us beyond trying to keep our loved-ones and families safe?

Social interactions are crucial and the tools available allow us to engage with friends and family online, as well as our colleagues in the same companies, customers, clients and partners etc. So make sure to engage, check with your colleagues by email, by phone or the tools provided by Skype, Whatsapp, Skype and the likes.

For companies the situation is quite dire. For a lot of businesses it is essentially complete stand still. Employees cannot travel to set up equipment or provide services. For us that work mostly on the computer, we have it comparably easy as we can sit on our computers at home, but not everybody might be able to do so. At the same time, we don’t have the guarantee to be able to secure the business that keeps us afloat.

What makes this crisis interesting is that everybody is in a similar if not the same situation. I have never quite felt the same level of understanding and support across the board. At the same time let us understand that the social network is different in other countries and regions. Not all have the luxury on paid leave during quarantine or the same social security system.

You are now all struggling in one way or another with closure of schools, work, transport etc. so what can you do to stay sane? Well, first make sure you take care of family and then also check in with your colleagues and peers. Make an effort to reach out to your friends, colleagues and customers on a regular basis. Show compassion and support. Organise virtual meet ups, e.g. through video calls or web meetings. Together we will persevere.

For us at ThinkGeoEnergy, we will likely see less news on development given the standstill in many areas of the global economy, but we will try to continue reporting on topics across the wide spectrum of our geothermal energy industry.

With the uncertainties at hand, we cannot foresee how long this situation will pertain nor what the long-term effects will be. Some things though are certain, travel and how we meet at conferences will likely never be the same, so we have to rethink many aspects of our approach to networking, meeting and travelling for business (and pleasure).

For you at your companies, make sure to engage and maybe share news of your firms on how you are coping with the crisis. We would love to hear from you. Keep up with your social media activities and stay in the game to be not forgotten when things – eventually – turn back to normal (at least somewhat).

Drop me an email at alex (at) thinkgeoenergy.com

For now wash your hands, stay healthy and avoid the virus.