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LXRICHTER - Alexander Richter | On becoming the next President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA)
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On becoming the next President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA)

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On becoming the next President of the International Geothermal Association (IGA)

Normally people find me ranting on LinkedIn about the geothermal energy industry and my activities on ThinkGeoEnergy, but I now want to use this forum to announce something personal.

Over my years in the geothermal energy industry, a rather short period if I compare this to many of my friends in the industry, I have been involved both directly and indirectly with the bodies and groups that represent our industry on various levels at GEA, CanGEA and IGA. Entering the Board of IGA for a second term, I have been elected as IGA President for the term of 2016 to 2019. I will take over the position on October 31, 2016.

I will follow in this position distinguished predecessors, like Juliet Newson of Contact Energy (soon Iceland School of Energy), Roland Horne (Stanford University), Ladsi Rybach (ETH Zuerich) and many more. This is an incredible honour and while I am very much looking forward, I also understand that I have some large shoes to fill.

The associations, underfunded as they are, play an important role for the sector, promoting, informing and also lobbying for support to help with the development of geothermal projects worldwide. But they also need the support of the sector and its representatives.

During the current board term of the IGA, I was heavily involved in preparing and working on a future strategy for IGA and worked with the Secretariat and other board members on a new approach to branding of the association. This work continues and I hope we can make a big push forward prior to the new board taking over this autumn involving also our membership. In all the activities, I worked closely with and have supported the Secretariat throughout these activities.

My future vision for the organization

IGA can build on the fantastic support by the host of the IGA Secretariat in Bochum, Germany. Compared to other renewable energy technologies, we are though not as visible and are often not taken that seriously. Therefore I believe that we need to strengthen efforts in the promotion and representation of geothermal energy, this not only to the general public but also national and multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank, IRENA and related.

Representing industry interests and those of our member associations is only possible by strengthening our activities and involvement with those entities and organizations. This involves research activities, project development, financing and risk mitigation tools and much more. At the same time we need to put a focus on realistic targets.

It is important that we find ways to engage industry more strongly into our activities and thereby also strengthen the fantastic research efforts of the industry on an academic and industry level. This also includes efforts on entrepreneurship and technological development and I see IGA in a possible facilitating role going forward. With our strategy discussions in the current board, we have laid a good foundation for preparing IGA for the future.

Working with the Secretariat in Bochum, Germany, while at the same time working closely on the planning for the World Geothermal Congress 2020, which will be held in Iceland will be important.

Engaging more closely with the national geothermal associations and aim to meet with many of them during the term of 2016-2019, but also meet with larger players in the industry to see what IGA could do for the industry while engaging industry more in the support of the work of IGA.

Another thing I really want to emphasize is how we can strengthen the role of women in the geothermal energy sector and thereby fully support the great work of all the WINGs (Women in Geothermal). I hope to be working closely together with Andy Blair and her team over the coming years, not only on the board of IGA, but also via ThinkGeoEnergy.

Over the coming weeks, I want to reach out to a lot of people in the sector as possible to learn about your views on IGA, geothermal energy in general and how we can make sure to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive energy market.

I plan to report regularly on my activities as President on a personal note via my personal blog, but also via ThinkGeoEnergy – the main news platform for the geothermal energy sector that I founded in 2008.

For any questions, comments, thoughts and more email me at: alex@thinkgeoenergy.com

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