Geothermal Energy Association Announces GEA Honors Finalists

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The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) recently announced the finalists for its GEA Honors awards. The winner will be announced at the GEA National Geothermal Summit Awards Dinner on August 7. The focus of this awards program is to “recognize companies and individuals that have made significant contributions during the past year to advancing technology, spurring economic development or protecting the environment.”

The finalists for each of the three categories, as well as some “special recognition” companies, individuals, and organizations, are as follows:

Technological AdvancementAwarded to an individual or company that has developed a new, innovative, or pioneering technology to further geothermal development.

Finalists Include:

  • Baker Hughes: The company is working on multimillion-dollar-funded geothermal research and development projects, including the Geothermal Ultrasonic Fracture Imager. The technologies being developed are designed to improve geothermal industry efficiencies and reduce environmental impact.
  • ElectraTherm: ElectraTherm’s fuel-free, emission-free Green Machine converts low temperature waste heat into power and allows for the generation of electricity from low to mid-temperature hot water. ElectraTherm recently completed a successful 1,000 hour demonstration in Mississippi at an oil well. The company has also been approved for Phases 2 & 3 of its DOE co-produced fluids grant and will be operating a unit at a Nevada gold mine later this summer.
  • Enel Green Power North America: The Stillwater Solar-Geothermal Hybrid Project is the first ever hybrid power plant of this kind. This technology may help to allow projects that would otherwise have been unfeasible as stand-alone geothermal or solar projects to be more economically and technologically viable.
  • EnergySource: The Hudson Ranch I Plant is the first new geothermal plant constructed in the Salton Sea in more than 20 years. This power plant is capable of normal operation using just two of three drilled production wells and two of four injection wells, an unprecedented outcome.
  • TAS Energy: The company’s San Emidio and Dixie Valley power plants demonstrate unique technologies and the modular designs of the plants allow for increased output without drilling new wells. Additionally, TAS’s innovations contribute to a lower environmental footprint.


Economic DevelopmentAwarded to an individual or company that has made a substantial contribution to the development of local, regional or national markets through the development of geothermal systems.

Finalists Include:

  • GeothermEX: The company’s work is responsible for tens of thousands of jobs and has enabled more than $10 billion in project financing.
  • Ram Power/Polaris Energia: The San Jacinto Tizate Geothermal Project in Leon, Nicaragua will add 10% of clean, sustainable, reliable and indigenous power to Nicaragua’s current power portfolio. The knowledge transfer from the project will also serve to boost Nicaragua’s class of technicians, and the construction, operation and maintenance of the plant will provide employment to the local area.


Environmental StewardshipAwarded to an individual or company that has fostered outstanding environmental stewardship through the use of geothermal systems. This award will be presented in conjunction with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI).

Finalists Include:

  • Geothermal Development Associates: The Eburru Wellhead Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya is now producing up to 2.5 MW. Geothermal energy is a viable resource alternative for Kenya, bringing economic benefits and reliable energy access to the region while preserving the environment.
  • Ormat Technologies, Inc.: While building the Tuscarora and McGinness Hills facilities, Ormat took several precautions to preserve the natural habitat of a native bird to the area.
  • SNC-Lavalin: The company successfully completed over 60,000 MW of thermal power projects while maintaining company-wide commitment to sustainability and is building an exemplary environmental record for major projects on the Te Mihi geothermal power project in New Zealand.


Special Recognition: Awarded to an individual or company for outstanding achievement in the geothermal industry. These awards are open to both GEA members and non-member companies.

Finalists Include:

  • AltaRock Energy: The company commercialized EGS technology for power generation through improving stimulation methods that will benefit the entire geothermal industry.
  • Dr. Desikan Bharathan: Established revolutionary condenser technology that improved efficiency of geothermal energy production as part of his work at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
  • Calpine Geysers Visitors Center: The center has been providing public education of geothermal energy since 2010 and has welcomed more than 75,000 visitors from 79 countries.
  • Dr. Leland (Roy) Mink: Serves on board of directors for US Geothermal and former Manager of DOE Geothermal Technology Program. He has been working in geothermal industry since 1972.
  • National Geothermal Academy: Leader in geothermal education programs in the U.S. and attracted national and worldwide attention in its inaugural year.
  • John Pritchett: Mr. Pritchett has been an internationally-recognized leader in the development and utilization of geothermal reservoir engineering technology since 1974, and currently works for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
  • Simbol Materials: The company is working at a demonstration facility in the Salton Sea that produces lithium from existing geothermal plants in an effort to revolutionize the future of the new energy economy and turn the U.S. into a major lithium exporter.
  • SMU Geothermal Program: For more than 42 years the program has been supplying vital information on geothermal energy and training the next generation of geothermal leaders.


GEA is also honoring these four companies that brought U.S. power plants online in 2011-12:

  • Ormat (Puna, Hawaii) (Tuscarora, Nevada)
  • Terra-Gen Power/TAS Energy (Beowawe, Nevada)
  • Energy Source (Hudson Ranch 1, California)
  • U.S. Geothermal/TAS Energy (Neal Hot Spring Project, Oregon and San Emidio, Nevada)


I’m sure you can learn much more about any of the above, and see who the winners are, at the second annual GEA National Geothermal Summit, which “will bring policy leaders, utilities and industry professionals to Sacramento August 7-8 to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the geothermal industry.”

As with most such summits, the event will include keynote speakers, breakout plenary sessions, and roundtable discussions. The GEA Honors awards dinner kicks off the event on Tuesday, August 7.

Image Credit: geothermal power plant via Shutterstock

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