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GEA Hosts Geothermal Plant Tour of Imperial Valley
to Launch Geothermal Energy Expo 2011

New GEA report finds Southern California is world leader in geothermal production

San Diego, Calif. (October 21, 2011) — Today, the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) hosted a tour of geothermal power plant complexes based in Imperial Valley, Calif., as a preview to the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo, which begins Sunday night. Today’s tour of CalEnergy U.S. and Ormat facilities provided access to two of the leading geothermal plants that supply Southern California with renewable, baseload energy. In conjunction with the Expo, GEA has released a report on Southern California and its geothermal resources, titled “Energizing Southern California’s Economy: The Economic Impacts and Potential for Geothermal Energy in Southern California.”

“The facilities in the Imperial Valley exemplify the vast geothermal potential of Southern California and the nation,” said Paul Thomsen, GEA Board President and Director for Ormat Technologies, Inc. “The GEA tour and report are critical tools in educating the public and policy makers about the importance of this cost-effective, indigenous, base-load renewable energy resource.”

The GEA report cites both stops on the GEA tour as geothermal companies with projects in development. At CalEnergy U.S., the tour stopped at the world’s largest geothermal well Vonderahe-1 and the Black Rock project site. According to CalEnergy U.S., the development of its Black Rock geothermal projects will employ several hundred workers during the peak of construction. Once on-line, these power plants will permanently employ operations, maintenance, engineering and administrative professionals.

“The GEA Geothermal Energy Expo is a wonderful opportunity for industry leaders to convene and discuss opportunities for moving our industry forward,” said Steve Larsen, president of CalEnergy U.S. “The Southern California report shows the opportunity presenting itself in our region. The Black Rock project is another step in that direction.”

The GEA report finds that if California were a separate country, it would be the world leader in geothermal power production, with more than 2,500 MW of installed geothermal capacity. Southern California alone would rank fifth in installed geothermal capacity behind Mexico (958 MW), and ahead of Italy (843 MW). Millions more California homes and businesses could have their energy needs met through the geothermal energy that is waiting to be tapped in Southern California.

The report also finds:

  • Energy Mix: In 2010, geothermal energy provided approximately 42 percent of California’s commercial in-state renewable electricity generation. In addition to its large potential capacity, geothermal energy offers advantages over other forms of energy. It is ideally suited to provide baseload (24/7) power that intermittent renewable resources cannot provide. Additionally, when compared to other forms of baseload thermal generation, geothermal offers major advantages in fuel price stability, since it does not require a fuel supply, significantly reduces air emissions, and has a smaller footprint per installed MW.

  • Additional Resources: Southern California benefits from geothermal production from power plants located around Coso and the Imperial Valley. Today, Southern California provides substantial power from these regions, meeting the needs of approximately 1 million California households. The region also has substantial undeveloped geothermal resources. Developing these resources would bring significant amounts of reliable power to meet the state’s energy, climate, emissions and renewables goals.

  • Economic Boost: Geothermal companies are developing additional geothermal resources for energy production in Imperial County. Currently, five geothermal projects – with a combined estimated installed capacity of 239 MW – are being developed by CalEnergy U.S., Energy Source and Ormat Technologies in the area around the Salton Sea. In addition to providing additional energy to Southern California’s power markets, the development and operation of these geothermal power plants will provide an economic boost to the region. The projects could bring hundreds of new jobs and billions of dollars of economic development in some of the most economically challenged areas of the state.

The report also reviews transmission, research and development, and geothermal technologies. The complete report can be accessed at

The Expo provides a unique opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their projects, equipment, services and state-of-the-art technology to the geothermal community. This year, the Expo will host more than 160 businesses from around the world at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego. Leading geothermal exhibiters include BM Holdings Company, Calpine Corporation, Geothermal Resource Group, Íslandsbanki, Mitsubishi Power Systems, NALCO, Ormat, POWER Engineers, Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, Siemens and TNG Energy Services. More than 3,000 attendees are expected.

“The GEA Geothermal Energy Expo is the go-to event for industry professional looking to make connections with business leaders driving geothermal progress,” said GEA Executive Director Karl Gawell. “We look forward to hosting an event that brings together all the key players under one roof.”

The general public can visit the Expo Hall for a $50 registration fee per day, and student registration is complimentary with a valid student ID. The Expo Hall will be open Sunday, October 23 from 6:00pm until Wednesday, October 26 at noon.

For information on registration, the floor plan and agenda, visit The GEA also is on Twitter @geoenergist. Join the conversation with the Twitter tag #GEAExpo. The complete exhibitor list is available at

To schedule an interview or to request media credentials, contact Leni Schimpf at the Rosen Group at 646-695-7045 or For information about exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities, contact Kathy Kent at 202-454-5263 or

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 Follow GEA on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

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