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Successful Iceland Geothermal Conference highlights future role of geothermal energy worldwide

Opening Session, Iceland Geothermal Conference 2018 (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Alexander Richter 2 May 2018

The 4th Iceland Geothermal Conference was successfully concluded last week in Reykjavik, Iceland. Bringing together more than 600 participants from more than 40 countries, the event highlighted opportunities for geothermal energy utilisation beyond power generation and how barriers for development can be broken.

Last week, the Iceland Geothermal Conference successfully concluded in Reykjavik, Iceland. Having established itself as an important regular meeting of the international community, this year’s event brought together more than 600 participants from 40 countries from around the world.

As in previous years, the event featured not only an exciting program and high-level speakers, targeting a wide variety of topics from financing, to technical solutions and the direct use of geothermal energy resources, but also saw a great variety of side events and field trips.

This year’s event was held under the theme of “Breaking the Barriers”, which was carried throughout the days of the conference and side events.

The event was kicked off with a one day workshop by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) on “Geothermal Direct Utilisation and Food Security”, which highlighted the opportunities for geothermal direct use. A second event by the GGA, looked at how collaboration efforts can be strengthened between regional and national industry platforms and how industry clusters can jointly develop or support to promote geothermal development globally. Presentations and program can be accessed here.  On the day prior to the conference, the Iceland School of Energy held a workshop on “Geothermal System Management: Reservoir Modeling for Management”.

During the conference program, the United Nations University Geothermal Training Program (UNU-GTP) held a workshop in celebration on its 40th anniversary, bringing together a large group of current and past students of the program, and a large group of representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, as well as other countries.

The World Bank and its Energy Sector Management Assistant Program (ESMAP) held a special workshop on how – through its Global Geothermal Development Plan, the World Bank helps to change the course of geothermal development, e.g. in Indonesia, Turkey, Kenya nad the Caribbean.

In its unique setup, the Iceland Geothermal Conference again built in various field trips within the program of the conference right after the first half of the opening day. One trip brought people to the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant near Reykjavik while another one showed participants how geothermal energy is being utilised in the local community of Hveragerdi. The third field trip focused on the geology and nature on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the location of the operations of the Svartsengi and Reykjanes geothermal plants by HS Orka.

The conference itself featured a fantastic program with speakers from around the world. They not only looked at technological issues, challenges and solution, but also targeted on how projects can be financed, how stakeholder engagement could and should be implemented, and much more. To get a sense of the full program that was offered, check out the official program.

The Opening and Closing Plenary sessions of the conference were recorded. The Opening Session recording can be here, and the Closing Session here.

After the conference, three different excursions offered participants the opportunity to visit Iceland’s newest geothermal power plant of Theistareykir in the North of Iceland, visit the Langjökull Ice Caves and experience the sights of the Golden Circle, visiting the Gullfoss waterfall, Lake Thingvellir and the famous Geysir.

The 2018 Iceland Geothermal Conference was also a bit of a test run for the International Geothermal Association’s World Geothermal Congress 2020 to be held in Reykjavik at the same venue. So within two years, the global geothermal community will meet in Iceland.