Luis C.A. Gutiérrez-Negrín, Chairman IGA’s Information Committee

As planned, from April 19 through 24 it was held the World Geothermal Congress 2015 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center (MCEC), in Melbourne, Australia, with total attendance of more than 1600 persons. The WGC is convened every five years by the IGA, since the first one held in Florence, Italy, in 1995. This time the co-conveners were the national geothermal associations of Australia and New Zealand, under the main sponsorship of the Filipino company Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and with ‘Views From Down Under – Geothermal in Perspective’ as the main theme.

The WGC 2015 included several short pre- and post-congress courses. Four of the five pre-congress workshops were developed in April 18 and 19 in the University of Victoria Melbourne: ‘Geothermal well drilling, completion and testing, ‘Scaling and corrosion in geothermal development’, ‘Reservoir engineering and reservoir management’, and ‘Electricity generation from low-temperature geothermal resources’. The fifth one, ‘Reducing drilling risk’, was financed by the World Bank and was taught in Melbourne on 17-19 April. The only post-congress workshop was in Taupo, New Zealand in April 26-28, and the title was ‘Geothermal policy and implementation – The New Zealand example’.

There were also five field trips –two pre-congress in Australia and three post-congress in New Zealand. As social activities, there was an opening reception in the exhibition area the first day and an official dinner the second day in the fancy Crown Palladium, located a couple of blocks from MCEC. The exhibition room was composed of 60 booths where 43 geothermal companies, research centers, agencies and national associations and governments exhibited their products and services. Among the companies highlighted EDC, EDC, Ormat Technologies, PowerChem, Alstom, Exergy, Nalco, Atlas Copco, Fuji Electric, and Toshiba. New Zealand and Iceland presented national booths with its own companies and centers: Contact Energy, Jacobs New Zealand, Leapfrog, GNS Science, the Geothermal Institute, Mighty River Power among the New Zealanders, and Iceland Drilling, ISOR, Iceland Geothermal, Landsvirkjun, Mannvit and Orkustofnun among the Icelanders. The German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) presented also a wide booth.

The WGC opening session was held in the MCEC plenary room and started with the colorful welcome in native tongue of peoples of New Zealand (Maori from Whakarewarewa, Rotorua) and Australia (Wurundjeri Aboriginal Tribe). The session was moderated by Barry Goldstein, Chairman of the Organizing Committee (OC), and included salutations by Simon Bridges, New Zealand Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Kylia White, Deputy Secretary of Energy and Earth Resources of the Victoria government, Spence McClintock from Mighty River Power and Juliet Newson, President of IGA. Immediately after there was a keynote session chaired by Roland Horne, chair of the WGC Technical Committee, that was composed of six presentations by Roland, Juliet, Ruggero Bertani (world geothermal power status), John Lund (world geothermal direct uses status), Graeme Beardsmore (Australia country update) and Brian Carey (New Zealand country update).

The technical sessions started after plenaries. A little more than 1300 papers were presented, mostly orally in 20-minutes presentations arranged into 12 parallel sessions developed simultaneously in 12 different rooms of the MCEC. Oral sessions were arranged in the following subjects: Country Updates, Geophysics, Reservoir Engineering, EGS, Environmental and Societal Aspects, Power Generation, Exploration, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Geology, Drilling and Completion, Legal and Regulatory Aspects, Direct Use, Geochemistry, District Heating and Agriculture, Economics and Financing, Sustainability, Production Engineering, Injection Technology, International Collaboration, Resource Assessment, IDDP (International Deep Drilling Project), Software for Geothermal Applications, Case Histories, Health, Tourism and Balneology, Energy Pricing and Policies, Field Management, Corrosion and Scaling, Business Strategies, Heat from Oil Fields, Hydrogeology, Hot Sedimentary Aquifers, Geothermal Education, Minerals Extraction and Processing, Integrated Energy Systems, and Innovation. The top five subjects with more sessions and papers presented orally were:

Subject (# Sessions/ # Papers)

  1. Reservoir Engineering (16/ 80)
  2. Geophysics (14/ 70)
  3. Exploration (13/ 65)
  4. Geochemistry (12/ 60)
  5. EGS, Geology, Power Generation, Resource Assessment (10/ ~50)

There were also two sessions for presentation of papers in poster, with 149 papers in the first session (Tuesday) and 121 in the second (Wednesday), for a total of 270 papers presented in poster.

In the closing ceremony, conducted again by Barry Goldstein, it was signed and read the Melbourne Declaration and was introduced Iceland as the country host of the WGC 2020.

Besides the technical and plenary sessions, the WGC 2015 included two panel sessions and several special and side events. Both panel sessions were developed in the plenary room during the mornings of Wednesday April 22 and Friday April 24. The first one was ‘Community and Indigenous Involvement in Geothermal Projects’ and was moderated by Jim Lawless and Masami Nakagawa, while the second was devoted to the International Renewable Energy Alliance (REN Alliance), from which the IGA is one of the five partners and founders, and was moderated by Prof Rosalind Archer.

The side and special events were developed between April 19 and May 2. Among them there was a meeting of the WING (Women in Geothermal) group, an International Geothermal Health and Safety Regulators Forum, a Latin America Forum called by Auckland University students, an Update of Geothermal Energy in Africa, a meeting to present the Geothermal Global Alliance initiative promoted by IRENA, an Introduction to the Code of Practice for Drilling Deep Geothermal Wells (NZS2403), several meetings of representatives of some IEA-GIA annexes, meetings of the IGA’s committees of Resources and Reserves, Program and Planning, and Education, a IGA/UNECE Open Forum on geothermal specifications for the UNFC classification, and a special event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the IGA foundation. In this latter, the President of IGA delivered recognitions to the eight IGA promoters-founders and to some outstanding members of the early years. Some post-congress events developed in New Zealand were the NZ Geothermal Journey on April 27, the meeting of the Executive Committee of IGA-GIA on April 30 and May 1, and the AGGAT (Above Ground Geothermal and Allied Technologies) Conference on April 30.

As usual in the World Geothermal Congresses, the WGC 2015 finalized with a declaration on behalf of the geothermal community that aims to reflect the status and future hopes of the sector. Here is The Melbourne Declaration.

“Geothermal in Perspective – Views from Down Under”

We are more than 1,500 members of the global geothermal community, representing more than 75 countries, who have gathered together in Melbourne, Australia, for the World Geothermal Congress 2015. We share a common interest in geothermal resources, stimulated by the promises and challenges they present. Participants have shared in short courses and field trips in New Zealand and Australia, where geothermal development and preservation initiatives provide examples from which the rest of the world can learn. We acknowledge a debt to those before us who built a solid base of knowledge and experience, as we create better outcomes for energy efficiency and delivery around the world.

Advanced economies rely on the efficient and reliable availability of energy. The energy options we currently have can be considered gifts from our ancestors. We are responsible for their sustainable management so that our endowment of natural resources can continue to meet the needs of future generations. Geothermal energy sits within a suite of clean and sustainable energy options, providing benefits beyond simple energy delivery in terms of sustaining the health of the environment in which we live.

Geothermal resources soothe bodies, warm homes and hotels, and supply heat for commerce, industry and agriculture. They provide the clean raw fuel for an expanding base of electricity generation. New opportunities are opening for the harvesting of valuable minerals carried within geothermal fluids, and for understanding the extreme life forms that survive within these fluids. Geothermal resources are indigenous; they are sustainable; their use is environmentally responsible; their high availability is largely independent of weather and climate; they displace carbon-intensive energy resources. Geothermal energy can be considered a global resource. In some places, geothermal resources already provide the most cost effective option for power and heat generation, representing a sound financial investment choice.

In spite of this, only a small fraction of the global geothermal potential has so far been realized. Many people remain unaware of the geothermal options available to them or the costs and benefits associated with these. Financial, legal, institutional and regulatory hurdles are common. To overcome these hurdles:

  • We urge governments to implement policies that ensure that the environmental costs of all energy developments are internalized and reflected in their pricing;
  • We urge governments to implement policies to minimize legislative and administrative barriers to geothermal development;
  • We urge governments and finance agencies to work with national and international geothermal associations to disseminate accurate information about the technology, costs and performance of geothermal developments;
  • We urge all parties to respect the close association of indigenous peoples with geothermal features upon and beneath their traditional lands, where such traditional relationships exist, and to negotiate with these peoples in a fair manner;
  • We urge that substantial R&D funding be committed to decrease the cost of geothermal power, to extend geothermal production to lower resource temperatures and across a greater range of geological settings;
  • We urge that particular effort be directed to breaking down the financial risk barrier that commonly delays drilling on new ‘green field’ geothermal projects;
  • Finally, we urge governments and academic institutions to cooperate on transferring knowledge from geothermally experienced to less experienced countries, through training and education, capacity building, and technical assistance.

Through these actions, our common goal is to improve the living standards of citizens of the world through the supply of indigenous, affordable, environmentally responsible energy for generations to come, while preserving a portion of geothermal resources in an undisturbed state for all time.

François-D. Vuataz, IGA BoD member, CREGE, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Geothermal, the energy to change the World: this was the motto of the last World Geothermal Congress that took place in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia from April 25 to 30, 2010. The event was convened by the International Geothermal Association (IGA) and co-convened by the Indonesian Geothermal Association (INAGA). Ranked third among geothermal power producers and with its huge potential, Indonesia is today the best country to present the state of the art in geothermal energy. Moreover, the attractive island of Bali and the stunning International Convention Centre in Nusa Dua were the natural place to organize such event.

The organizing committee and the IGA steering committee did an outstanding job in preparing the congress and, from the participants’ point of view, the whole programme ran efficiently and smoothly. The programme itself was composed of the following main events: the Opening session, the 130 Technical sessions and the Closing ceremony with the signature of the Bali
Declaration. The social events were marked by a friendly Welcome reception, a spectacular Indonesian cultural night
and a hot Farewell party! If we compare some statistics from WGC 2000 and 2005 with the last one, Bali was the congress of all the
records. Similarly, when comparing the status of geothermal development at the period of those last three milestones,
one can say that Bali was the witness of a strong geothermal restart. As in other large international gatherings, new contacts
were made , agreements were signed and new collaborations were built for the sake of geothermal energy. Moreover, two panel discussions were held – on the international effort to attract investment in geothermal energy, and on the international perspective to support geothermal development in Indonesia.

Looking at the relative numbers of papers in the 40 topics proposed during the 130 technical sessions, it is interesting to see where the main efforts are centred. Actually, eight out of 40 topics represent precisely 50% of all the proceedings papers (Table 3).
It appears that indirect and surface methods (geophysics, geochemistry and geology) are still very important in the exploration and management of geothermal resources and reservoirs. Numerous papers about exploration show how active is the quest for new resources. Moreover, never before in a congress have so many papers and sessions been focused on Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS). Although for the last five years numerous projects have been in progress on several continents, major difficulties linked to drilling and to reservoir stimulation have retarded the development of this technology. As a result, only two small pilot plants are
under exploitation today (at Soultz-sous-Forêts, France, and Landau, Germany, both located in the Rhine graben).
Among many interesting and important projects, one stands out particularly: the exploration for supercritical fluids, namely the striking Icelandic Deep Drilling Project (IDDP). The aim of the project is to exploit supercritical fluid at a depth of 4-5 km and a temperature of 400- 600°C. At a given flow rate, the amount of power generated with such a fluid would be twice that of a classical high temperature geothermal field. After a first drilling attempt, a 2.1 km well in the Krafla geothermal field (NE-Iceland) had unfortunately to be stopped after a body of molten magma was encountered. The project will continue with the drilling of new wells on other sites.

Final remarks
WCC 2010 was definitely a great event in a very friendly atmosphere. The excellent planning and organization were a decisive point. But above all, the handling and review of over 1000 papers by the Technical Programme Committee and their implementation on the IGA database, as well as the preparation of the proceedings CD is to my view the one key-element for developing geothermal energy during the next five years, by allowing professionals to be informed of the latest results and experiences worldwide until WGC 2015 in Melbourne.

“Geothermal Energy to Change the World”
We are more than 2500 members from World Geothermal Communities represented by 85 countries assembled in Bali, Indonesia, for the World Geothermal Congress 2010. The Congress has been convened by the International Geothermal Association and the Indonesian Geothermal Association. Indonesia is a country that has been blessed with abundant, sustainable natural sources of energy including perhaps the world’s largest readily accessible geothermal resources. In light of the long history of geothermal energy development here in Indonesia and throughout the world it is only appropriate that we, the participants of the World Geothermal Congress 2010 so assembled, do hereby declare:

FIRSTLY – Energy constitutes a basic and continuing human need
a. Humankind is learning to develop technology to effectively and efficiently manage this diverse energy need in an environmentally responsible manner.
b. Natural resources should not be considered merely as an inheritance from our ancestors, but that which has been entrusted to us for our children and grandchildren.
c. Without energy other natural resources cannot be developed, industrialization cannot occur; food production will always be a problem, unemployment will continue to be a major issue, and health services will be extremely limited.
d. Geothermal energy can be a major player in making significant changes in that situation and is reflected in the theme of the Congress. Geothermal: The Energy to Change the World.

SECONDLY – It is established that
a. The world needs energy, now and in the future. Geothermal energy is hugely abundant.
b. Climate change must be well managed and energy must be provided at a reasonable cost to our growing world wide population.
c. Geothermal energy is indigenous, sustainable and environmentally responsible, counteracting global warming by displacing carbon-intensive energy usage.
d. Geothermal energy can generate electricity as well as provide for the development of a wide range of direct uses including heating and cooling buildings, various industrial processes and agricultural production, as well as balneological and recreational health resorts.
e. Geothermal energy is the only renewable energy source which is totally independent of daily, seasonal and climatic variation, allowing it to provide power with a higher availability than any other energy source including fossil fuels and nuclear.
f. Geothermal energy technology is well established, though it is continuously being improved.
g. Geothermal energy has to date only been developed to a very limited extent compared to the potential resource base. Obtaining financing, and legal, institutional and regulatory barriers are two of the limiting factors.
h. Geothermal technologies based on higher temperature resources have life-cycle costs competitive with other forms of energy. Cost competitiveness is steadily being extended down the resource curve as technology improves, but at the lower end of the temperature scale pro-active policies or incentives are still needed to increase geothermal competitiveness.
i. The importance of extending geothermal energy usage to lower temperatures is that not only is the resources base increased exponentially as the minimum temperature is reduced, but the range of geographies where it can be applied also greatly increases.

THRIDLY: We the assembled therefore do urge that
a. Large investment is secured for national, regional and local geothermal projects in developing as well as developed countries and economies in transition. Greater acceptance of geothermal by international funding agencies can play a major role.
b. Legislative and administrative barriers be removed and reformed.
c. All technocrats, decision makers, politicians and world leaders, whether they are in the developed or developing countries strive to create a favorable political climate by molding public opinions that are conducive to the sustainable development of geothermal energy. This can include for example government support in the areas of risk mitigation insurance, cost sharing, loan guarantees and production tax credits.
d. Investments can be provided in many forms (financial incentives from government, loans and capital investment from banks, private investors, venture capital funds) and policies need to be established to facilitate accessing all of these sources.
e. Recognition be given to the important role of existing utilities as the off taker for electrical output, that Renewable Portfolio Standards be adopted, that Integrated Resource Planning be fully implemented and standard offer contracts including feed-in tariffs be made available.
f. Substantial funding be committed to research and development to improve the cost competitiveness of geothermal energy production, particularly where it means it can be extended into new situations, such as at low temperatures and into different geological settings.
g. Know-how transfer from developed to developing countries is facilitated and supported through effective international cooperation among government, private and academic institutions, especially by joint training and education, capacity building, and technical assistance.

FOURTHLY – All this will
a. Avoid additional carbon dioxide emissions and reduce current emission levels;
b. Create employment opportunities, increase industrial development and agricultural production and improve the standard of living of citizens of the world;
c. Secure adequate and environmentally responsible energy supply for generations to come; and last but not least
d. Effectuate “geothermal energy to change the world” toward a sustainable peaceful, healthy and clean environment in a world to live in and consequently the lasting prosperity of the people through out the world. Nusa Dua, Bali – Indonesia, 30th April 2010.

All IGA affiliated organizations will be invited to sign the Bali Declaration.