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GEA National Geothermal Summit sparks dialogue on industry challenges moving forward

The recently held National Geothermal Summit in the U.S. has sparked an intense dialogue on the challenges of the industry and how the industry should market the positive attributes of geothermal to potential off-takers.

In a release by the U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the organization reported on its “Inaugural National Geothermal Summit that culminated on Wednesday after two days of intense discussions related to large scale exploration, equitable tax treatment, reducing development times, funding science and education needs and clearly defining geothermal’s intrinsic attributes and how the industry should market that to potential off-takers. More than 300 policy and industry leaders gathered in Reno for a successful session on moving utility scale geothermal energy forward despite challenging issues facing the industry.

“The geothermal industry has the ability to provide a significant portion of home grown energy to U.S. households but we need three things: certainty from policy makers, permit streamlining, and constructive partnerships between business and policy leaders to expedite the process,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “Megawatt for megawatt, geothermal employs four times as many Americans as natural gas, and the industry is creating thousands of jobs, even as other industries suffer. This means taking communities out of crisis and providing substantial revenue to local government.”

The GEA National Geothermal Summit discussed the outlook for Washington D.C. and the western states, building new transmission projects in the west, new renewable energy policy developments in California, and moving geothermal forward on public lands. Panelists included John Wellinghoff, Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC); Karen Edson, Vice President, Policy and Client Services, CAISO; Kathleen Benedetto, Legislative Staff, House Subcommittee on Energy & Mineral Resources; and V. John White, Executive Director, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT).

Paul Thomsen, GEA Board President and Director for Ormat Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Reno, Nev., said, “This summit created the foundation for state and national dialogues that will continue to educate agencies, utilities, developers and others as to the important role this industry will play as the industry continues to move forward. We expect there will be follow up on almost every critical issue that was raised. We see real dialogue between state officials to get the job done.”

“The first National Geothermal Summit in Reno was a tremendous success and very valuable for the industry,” said John McKinsey, Partner, Stoel Rives, LLP. “Stakeholders from all aspects of the renewable energy industry met and truly advanced the agenda of how important baseload, sustainable geothermal power is in helping the United States find balance in its electricity supply while achieving energy independence.”

Source: release by GEA

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