GEA announces the winners of the GEA Honors 2012

Group of the GEA Honors Awards winners of 2012 (source: GEA)
Alexander Richter 13 Aug 2012

GEA awarded its GEA Honor Awards at its National Geothermal Energy Summit last week in California. Winners were Enel Green Power, Ram Power/ Polaris Energia, Ormat Technologies. Several additional companies and institutions received a special recognition awards.

With policy leaders, utilities and geothermal industry professionals on hand, the second annual GEA National Geothermal Summit kicked off last week in Sacramento, California with the GEA Honors Awards Dinner honoring the winners of the coveted annual industry awards.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was represented at the dinner by Julia Burrows, President & Executive Director of Greenwise Joint Venture and Policy Advisor to the Mayor, who will address attendees. Organized by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the Summit brought together major decision makers together to discuss geothermal’s future in California and across the country, at a time when all renewable technology sectors are striving for sustained growth.

“The GEA Honors recognize the companies and individuals that represent the very best aspects of the geothermal industry–one that is providing clean, baseload power to Americans nationwide,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “GEA would also like to recognize the geothermal community as a whole for working to secure America’s energy future.”

The GEA Honors 2012 Winners:

Technological Advancement: Awarded to an individual or company that has developed a new, innovative, or pioneering technology to further geothermal development.

Winner: Enel Green Power North America: The Stillwater Solar-Geothermal Hybrid Project is the first ever hybrid power plant of this kind. This technology may help to allow projects that would otherwise have been unfeasible as stand-alone geothermal or solar projects to be more economically and technologically viable.


  • Baker Hughes’ R&D efforts to develop high-temperature technologies
  • ElectraTherm’s fuel-free, emission-free Green Machine
  • EnergySource’s Hudson Ranch I Plant (recently renamed John L. Featherstone plant)
  • TAS Energy’s San Emidio and Dixie Valley power plants

Economic Development: Awarded to an individual or company that has made a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems.

Winner: Ram Power/Polaris Energia: The San Jacinto-Tizate Geothermal Project in Leon, Nicaragua will add 10% of clean, sustainable, reliable and indigenous power to Nicaragua’s current power portfolio. The knowledge transfer from the project will also serve to boost Nicaragua’s pool of technicians, and the construction, operation and maintenance of the plant will provide employment to the local area.


  • GeothermEx for enabling billions of dollars in project financing and the installation of nearly 7,000 MW of geothermal power worldwide

Environmental Stewardship: Awarded to an individual or company that has fostered outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems. This award is presented in conjunction with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).

Winner: Ormat Technologies, Inc.: While building the Tuscarora and McGinness Hills facilities, Ormat took several precautions to preserve the natural habitat of the sage grouse, a native bird to the area, and engaged in extensive efforts to protect the overall environmental integrity of these sites.


  • Geothermal Development Associates’ Eburru Wellhead Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya
  • SNC-Lavalin’s company-wide commitment to addressing climate change and sustainability

Special Recognition: Awarded to an individual or company for outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry. These awards are open to both GEA members and non-member companies:

  • AltaRock Energy: The company commercialized EGS technology for power generation through improving stimulation methods that will benefit the entire geothermal industry.
  • Dr. Desikan Bharathan: Established revolutionary condenser technology that improved efficiency of geothermal energy production as part of his work at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
  • Calpine Geysers Visitors Center: The center has been providing public education of geothermal energy since 2010 and has welcomed more than 75,000 visitors from 79 countries.
  • Dr. Leland (Roy) Mink: Serves on board of directors for US Geothermal and former Manager of DOE Geothermal Technology Program and has been working in geothermal industry since 1972.
  • National Geothermal Academy: Leader in geothermal education programs in the U.S. and attracted national and worldwide attention in its inaugural year.
  • John Pritchett: Mr. Pritchett has been an internationally-recognized leader in the development and utilization of geothermal reservoir engineering technology since 1974, and currently works for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
  • Simbol Materials: The company is working at a demonstration facility in the Salton Sea that produces lithium from existing geothermal plants in an effort to revolutionize the future of the new energy economy and turn the U.S. into a major lithium exporter.
  • SMU Geothermal Program: For more than 42 years the program has been supplying vital information on geothermal energy and training the next generation of geothermal leaders.

GEA also honored five companies that brought U.S. power plants online in 2011-12:

  • Energy Source (Hudson Ranch 1, California)
  • Ormat (Puna, Hawaii) (Tuscarora, Nevada)
  • Terra-Gen Power/TAS Energy (Beowawe, Nevada)
  • U.S. Geothermal/TAS Energy (Neal Hot Spring Project, Oregon and San Emidio, Nevada)

The Summit kicked off with a full slate of influential industry and policy speakers, including a representative from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office: JR Delarosa, Advisor to the Governor for Renewable Energy. Additional speakers include State Assembly member V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella); California State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima); Commissioner Carla Peterman, California Energy Commission; Karen Edson, Vice-President, Policy and Client Services, California ISO; and John DiStasio, General Manager & CEO, SMUD.

These speakers and others took part in a number of sessions and panels touching on topics such as geothermal and renewable energy outlooks for California and neighboring states, utility experience with geothermal power, reducing the risk for geothermal drilling and exploration, streamlining projects and permits, and improving incentives for geothermal power. An exhibit area also featured government, sponsor and industry tabletops.

The event’s agenda featured an invitation-only media roundtable that brought together energy and policy reporters with industry leaders for a dialogue on taking geothermal to the next level. Participants included Gawell, Delarosa, Distasio, Edson, and others including Stacey Crowley, Director, Nevada State Office of Energy; Halley Dickey, Director Geothermal Business Development Renewable Energy Systems, TAS Energy; Douglas Hollett, Program Director of the Geothermal Technologies Program at the US Department of Energy and former Manager of Unconventional New Ventures for Marathon Oil; Dr. Jane C.S. Long, Co-Chair, California’s Energy Future Committee, California Council on Science and Technology; and Paul Thomsen, Public Policy Manager, Ormat Technologies, Inc.

Source: GEA release by email