Wednesday, October 10, 2018

GRC ED Looks Forward to the Geothermal Energy Event of the Year!

The 2018 Annual Meeting Steams Ahead (and so does the 2019 one!)

by Will Pettitt, PhD, Executive Director, Geothermal Resources Council (GRC)

The 2018 GRC Annual Meeting & Expo in Reno is nearly upon us. Like its predecessors, it will be the largest annual gathering, and premier technical program, of the geothermal community in the world. I would first like to thank all the volunteers and staff that contribute to our conference. It takes a small army of people to organize the meeting and all the activities that are planned. Each of you know what you have contributed. I speak on behalf of the GRC and geothermal community to say that everything you do is really appreciated and we are all very grateful for your efforts. For all our volunteers, please know that the GRC could not function without you, and that the staff, management, and Board are grateful for every moment of time you donate.

Our conference is organic and simply could not survive and flourish without everybody’s contribution. At the meeting this year, we will have almost 200 technical papers presented over three days in five tracks of oral sessions running sequentially, along with a poster session. We all understand how much work has gone into each and every one of these papers. As well as the time in performing the original research and analysis, there is the commitment to writing the paper, putting together the presentation or poster, and attending the conference to present it. The Annual Meeting truly highlights the width and breadth of the community we have in geothermal energy spanning science, engineering, social-economics, and government, and highlights the eclectic mix of people that are involved: students, corporate entrepreneurs, politicians, professionals and researchers. The extent of that mix can be seen by browsing the Program found on the website or downloading the conference app.

The conference will have three technical workshops, including a “101” to which the general public is invited, four fieldtrips, and numerous social events (including a student-led trivia contest where we hope to see the likes of Ormat and Schlumberger face off against their corporate competitors!). The meeting is also a large business affair, with more than 70 booths lined up in the Expo*, where companies gather to promote their products and services, and take advantage of the opportunity for a meeting of clients with vendors. The conference is well known for high-level, big-budget, side meetings with many projects signed and sealed within our walls. There’s also the social networking of everybody together across our community (industry, academia, government, and public) where some of those big project ideas are initially discussed, or research ideas are born. This year, these meetings of folk include both the GRC and International Geothermal Association (IGA) Board Meetings that will occur ahead of the published program. The corporate flavor not just contributes through the Expo, but also through our many sponsors that help make the conference financially viable, and through the mix of attendees knowledge, experience and personalities from across the geothermal industry.

Our conference attendees also highlight the international flavor of the GRC as a whole. Although based in the USA, we are an international organization by definition due to the globalized nature of our community, with 1,176 members from 44 different countries, as at December 2017 (see figure above from our website). The GRC should be an outward facing, collaborative organization, that partners with other international associations to speak for our community with one voice and work in the best interest of all our members (the GRC was pivotal in the original creation of the IGA). The GRC’s international outreach and activities will only get greater through necessity as our industry becomes more globalized. In my view this is the same for every country association in the world. Our organization can continue to contribute by helping to build networks of stakeholders across the globe to help geothermal energy become more recognized and accepted, and in doing so, help all of us working for the same cause to have a consistent message and be more effective at communicating that message globally.

The Annual Meeting is a gathering of our community and our membership. It’s an opportunity for everybody to network, to learn, to do business, and to contribute to the direction of the geothermal industry. Please let us know how the GRC can help you in your work and how we can together help elevate our industry. As we enter a successful 2018 meeting we also have our eyes on the future. The GRC has many ongoing activities and new initiatives that we are starting; you can learn more at our booth in the Expo hall or talk with any of the staff or Board. Preparations have also begun for our conference in 2019 in Palm Springs, California, September 15-18, where there are fantastic facilities lined up at the conference center and hotels, situated in a beautiful part of the world. So, you have 12 months to put on your thinking caps, sharpen your pencils, develop some geothermal power, and we’ll see you there!