GEA National Geothermal Summit to address challenges in advancing geothermal industry in California and beyond

Geothermal development is ramping up, but it needs policies that will support sustained growth and technological innovation to help the state achieve its clean power goals.

Washington, D.C. (July 26, 2012) – As California is in the midst of policy decisions that will determine its energy future, the GEA National Geothermal Summit will bring policy and industry leaders together in Sacramento Aug. 7-8. Policy leaders addressing attendees will include State Assembly member V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella); California State Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima); JR Delarosa, Advisor to the Governor for Renewable Energy, Office of California Gov. Jerry Brown; Commissioner Carla Peterman, California Energy Commission; Karen Edson, Vice-President, Policy and Client Services, California ISO; and John DiStasio, General Manager & CEO, SMUD. The GEA Honors Awards Dinner will feature insight from Julia Burrows, Policy Advisor to Sacramento Mayor Johnson and President & Executive Director of Greenwise Joint Venture, and from 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.

"California and other Western states' commitments to renewable technologies are what make the region number one in geothermal capacity," said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. "California is the global pioneer for geothermal energy, yet there is still a lot of misunderstanding in the state regarding geothermal potential and its positive attributes, including minimal land use and environmental quality benefits. It's important to get the facts straight, because making the right policy decisions today is vital to making the industry stronger in the future."

Recent GEA research to be discussed at the Summit shows strong industry growth since 2006, when the Energy Policy Act's new geothermal tax incentive and leasing provisions took effect. Since 2006, 14 different companies have built 28 geothermal power plants or additions in nine states with a combined power capacity of 502.7 MW. By comparison, U.S. geothermal capacity grew by roughly the same amount between the six-year period 2006-2012 as it did between the 20-year period 1960-1979, which is considered to be a solid growth period for the industry. The 2006-2012 growth represents an 18 percent increase in total U.S. MW online, and during this period 33 percent of U.S. geothermal power plants were either built or expanded.

"California could be headed for another electricity crisis if the power plants it needs to meet demand in the coming decade aren't realized," Gawell said. "Geothermal development is ramping up, but it needs policies that will support sustained growth and technological innovation to help the state achieve its clean power goals."

GEA points to over 4,500 MW of geothermal power under development in California, Oregon and Nevada to underscore that geothermal power can continue to play a significant role in meeting California's clean energy needs. Today, geothermal power plants provide 4.6% of California's power, and together the new projects GEA identifies could triple that contribution.

The Summit brings together key industry, state and federal leaders to discuss issues for geothermal energy's future, including 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.

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For details on attendee registration, event agenda and floor plan visit

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About the Geothermal Energy Association:

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is a trade association composed of U.S. companies who support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. GEA advocates for public policies that will promote the development and utilization of geothermal resources, provides a forum for the industry to discuss issues and problems, encourages research and development to improve geothermal technologies, presents industry views to governmental organizations, provides assistance for the export of geothermal goods and services, compiles statistical data about the geothermal industry, and conducts education and outreach projects. For more information, please visit Check out GEA's YouTube Channel. Follow GEA on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

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