CleanTechies catches up with Curt Robinson, executive director of the Geothermal Resources Council, for three quick questions:
CleanTechies: You’ve spoken at a number of conferences about the opportunities in international geothermal energy. What territories look most promising in 2010? What, in particular, is the outlook for China?
Curt Robinson: For 2010, we’ll see continuing interest in the US, Europe, Australia, and along the Pacific Ring of Fire. If the economy has a sustained recovery, we’ll see the capital markets opening up and supporting geothermal power development.
Napoleon said that, “China is a sleeping giant.” It is my thought that both China and India are sleeping giants and will, in time, embrace geothermal power generation as a durable and environmentally friendly alternative to other technologies.
CleanTechies: Recent reports indicate that California will have trouble meeting its 20% renewable power mandate by 2010. Given the power to change that, what steps need to be taken today in order to get things moving?
Curt Robinson: This can be summarized in three words, “capital, capital, and more capital.” Geothermal power development and other renewable power technologies require capital in order to develop and expand. Renewable energy technologies are still in their early childhood (not infants, but certainly not adolescents).
CleanTechies: Did the publicity about the earthquake problems at the Basel, Switzerland enhanced geothermal project cause any problems for pending projects?
Curt Robinson: The Basel story is still developing. It certainly has gotten some attention. It is unfortunate that Basel was the home to a catastrophic earthquake on October 18, 1356. The town’s residents have a heightened awareness of earthquakes, just as Chicagoans remember the mythical story of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lantern and starting the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Every enhanced geothermal project is unique … geologically, physically, and culturally. EGS technologies will be evolving over the next decade, perceived risks will be mitigated, and successes will be heralded.
[photo credit: Oli Jon]