Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Iceland: Harvard Professor Outlines Five Areas to Ensure Growth of Geothermal

Post-conference notes, 2016 Iceland Geothermal Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland (LinkedIn)

Alex V. Tardecilla, Consultant, Strategic Contracts & Procurement Management (SCM) for Geothermal Energy, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Last Saturday, I arrived safely in Calgary from Reykjavik (pronounced "Rake-ya-vick"), Iceland, after a week at the 3rd Iceland Geothermal Conference, held from April 26 to 29.

Prof. Michael Porter speaking at the Iceland Geothermal Conference
For me, the highlight of the conference was attending Harvard University's Michael Porter's lecture wherein he outlined the next strategy for Iceland and the global geothermal energy industry, including Canada! It was a privilege to be one of the audiences who heard Professor Porter, the guru of Strategic Planning to MBA classes around the world. Moreover, this is part of my learning on the geothermal energy industry! 

Professor Porter outlined five areas to ensure geothermal's growth globally:
  1. Increase public awareness of geothermal energy.  A recent study conducted in the EU countries found that most are familiar with wind and solar energy; geothermal was last on the list. We must promote awareness of this renewable energy source! In Canada, the Canadian Geothermal Association (CanGEA), of which I am a corporate member, is the main source of information on geothermal energy, resources and upcoming projects.
  2. Regarding financing new geothermal projects, create a financing package to make it easier for proposed projects. Porter urged knowledge sharing is crucial to help countries obtain financing for upcoming geothermal projects. A major conference theme was "No one left behind in accessing geothermal energy!" Upon hearing this, I thought about a great fit for Canada.
  3. Take advantage of the direct utilization of geothermal heat. Iceland is the world leader in geothermal utilization for its district heating, greenhouses to grow tomatoes, cucumber etc., and for generating electricity. In Indonesia, Porter described geothermal heat's role in the growth of this country's mushroom industry. As for Canada, anticipated projects for geothermal greenhouses are awaiting funding for First Nations communities.
  4. Define global standards for the geothermal industry, borrowing from the oil and gas industry's focus on H.S.E., quality etc.
  5. Cluster development of integrated geothermal solutions, achieved through collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Dr. Porter challenged Iceland to take the lead in investing on the development of geothermal energy in other countries.