The Washington-based, Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) came up with a message during the National Geothermal Summit held at the Hyatt Regency, Sacramento on Wednesday, 8 August, 2012: Geothermal industry is stalling in California, despite of their great resources and they are not paying enough attention towards their underground power sources. The Sacramento Summit included a serious roundtable discussion among the government officials, energy advocates, geothermal advocates and power companies.
The group of 200 industry leaders joining the Summit discussed about the current scenario of geothermal industry in California. The policy leaders who were present at the event included Alex Padilla, California State Senator; V. Manuel Perez, a member of State Assembly; Commissioner Carla Peterman; Karen Edson, the Vice President, Policy and Client Services for California's Independent System Operator Corporation(ISO); and John DiStasio, the President and CEO of the California Municipality Utility Association.
The Executive Director of GEA, Karl Gawell said, there's no question that the geothermal industry is stalled in California, during the meeting. Gawell later described that the geothermal development in California is still moving, but 'treading water' is ironic, as California possesses a wealth of underground natural resources. He said, wide range of factors including imperfect planning, challenging economics, lack of incentives, permitting processes, and lack of cooperation among private and public entities, are responsible for the stalling of geothermal development in California
California at 170 GW and 1,344,179 GWh, manages one of the world's most famous geothermal power sites. The Geysers Geothermal complex which spans an area of around 78 square kilometers and is located in the Mayacamas Mountains, accounts for generating a net 725 megawatts of electricity, enough for 1.1 million people. Geothermal industry has played a vital role in California's energy sector for more than fifty years and geothermal plants account for about 4.6 percent of the California's power industry.
Yet the general pace of the geothermal development is clearly falling short of industry's expectation in California. Gawell said, getting all the pieces to fit together is the key to a better economic development and if the economy improves, the power and energy demand will certainly spike in the future.