Home Annual Meeting > Opening Session

Opening SessionBy Mike Krahmer, Geologica, Portland, OregonUSA

Monday, September 16 - 8:00am-12:00pm

Primrose BCD - Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, California, USA


If you want to hear the latest on the geothermal industry, or contribute to the debate, then the Opening Plenary Session is the place to be!

The State of California needs your help to achieve 2,900 MW of net 24/7 always-on geothermal baseload capacity by the year 2030. This year, the session will consist of keynote addresses by leaders in the industry, research and government that will then sit on two panel debates. The goals of the panels are to facilitate objective debate across the experts, and with interactive Q&A from the audience, get to the heart of the debate and help inform the direction of our industry and community.

1: State of the Industry – A Panel Discussion in the Opening Plenary Session
Moderator: V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, Sacramento

Geothermal energy is well positioned to be a vibrant part of the renewable energy mix for California, the USA and the World. It is a sustainable, low-carbon resource that provides critical baseload power, which can underpin the growth of intermittent sources, such as solar and wind power. In addition, geothermal energy also can serve as a fundamental fuel source in energy portfolios, with other baseload sources such as energy storage, biofuels and hydropower.

Significantly, California is a leader in the world-wide energy transition to renewable power, with ambitious targets for its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Greenhouse-Gas (GHG) emissions. California is also the world’s leading supplier of geothermal energy, has large resources available for development, and has established targets for meeting its power needs over the next 10 years that include installation of 1700 MW of new geothermal net power generation. Given this, California serves as a key guide for how the rest of the USA and World can transition to the new energy economy with geothermal as a central component of the energy mix. How does the geothermal industry navigate this transition and overcome the hurdles that will allow a successful development of these power needs?

2: Transmission – A Panel Discussion in the Opening Plenary Session
Moderator: Laura McDonald, Sunrise Strategies Group, San Diego

The distance to viable transmission for interconnection, costs to intertie, including upgrades and wheeling costs, have long been an engineering and economic concern for geothermal projects located in remote areas across the western USA.   For example, a 230-kV line can easily cost $1 million per mile not including mitigation for archeological or biological resources.  The upgrades for communication and security also add to the costs of the new transmission as well as existing infrastructure to bring it into compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and NERC standards.  Wheeling charges can add substantially to the operating and maintenance costs for the power plant.  This panel will address the various elements of transmission from the developer, engineering, utility and system operator’s perspective.

Confirmed speakers and panelists include:

  • Prijandaru Effendi (Indonesian Geothermal Association)
  • Angelina Galiteva (California Independent Systems Operator Board - CAISO)
  • Sue Hamm (Department of Energy)
  • Amanda Hansen (California Natural Resources Agency - CNRA)
  • Jose Iguaz (Baker Hughes)
  • Supervisor Ryan Kelley (Chairman of the Board, Imperial County)
  • Henry Martinez (Imperial Irrigation District)
  • Laura McDonald (Sunrise Strategies Group)
  • Will Pettitt (Executive Director, Geothermal Resources Council - GRC)
  • Charles Reinhold (Electric Resource Strategies)
  • Alex Richter (IGA President)
  • Andy Sabin (US Navy and President, GRC)
  • Jim Turner (Controlled Thermal Resources)
  • Paul Thomsen (Ormat and GRC Policy Committee Chair)
  • Jon Trujillo (CalEnergy and President-Elect, GRC)
  • Jonathan Weisgall (Berkshire Hathaway Energy)
  • V. John White (Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies)
  • Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (California State Assembly)
  • Karen Christopherson (Women in Geothermal - WING)

More speakers will be confirmed shortly. Full agenda will be published soon.


Opening Session Master of Ceremonies, Will Pettitt (Executive Director, GRC)


Coffee and Networking

Thanks to Halliburton for sponsoring the Outdoor Exhibit Display - grab your Coffee before heading in for the speeches!




Will Pettitt,
Executive Director, Geothermal Resources Council - GRC


Welcome & Opening Remarks

Andy Sabin
President, Geothermal Resources Council (GRC)


"The Increasing Value of Geothermal Energy"

Paul Thomsen
GRC Policy Committee Chair


Keynote Address

Supervisor Ryan Kelley
Chairman of the Board, Imperial County


Panel Session

"State of the Industry"


V. John White,
Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, Sacramento


  • Jonathan Weisgall
    Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Affairs, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co.

  • Prijandaru Effendi,
    President Indonesian Geothermal Association (INAGA)

  • Amanda Hansen
    California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA)

  • Karen Christopherson
    Women in Geothermal (WING)


Keynote Address

Assemblyman Chad Mayes
(California State Assembly)


Coffee Break



Executive Presentation

Jose Iguaz, Baker Hughes (Gold Sponsor)

Baker Hughes


Keynote Address

Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo
California State Assembly


Panel Session




Laura McDonald,
Sunrise Strategies Group, San Diego


  • Angelina Galiteva
    California Independent Systems Operator Board (CAISO)

  • Charles Reinhold
    Electric Resource Strategies

  • Henry Martinez
    General Manager, Imperial Irrigation District (IID)

  • Jim Turner
    Controlled Thermal Resources


Latest Research Funding Initiatives by U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

Sue Hamm
Director DOE Geothermal Technology Office


Update on World Geothermal Congress 2020

Alex Richter
International Geothermal Associtiation ( IGA) President


Closing Remarks

Jon Trujillo
President Elect, GRC