A crowd of about 50 showed up yesterday in the Capitol Executive Tower for a day-long workshop on geothermal energy in Arizona. The morning session focused on ground source heat pumps (GSHP), with animated discussions about how to calculate their efficiency and cost savings, and how to get home owners over the long held myth that these heating-cooling systems don't work in Arizona.
The afternoon session looked at the potential for developing geothermal power plants. Arizona Public Service, the state's largest electric utility, and Ormat, the nation's largest geothermal plant developer, went through the requirements needed.
The workshop was organized by Leisa Brug, the Governor's Energy Policy Advisor and her staff.
I spoke in the morning giving an overview of the state's geothermal energy potential including power generation, direct-use (space heating, aquaculture, etc) and GSHP, and describing the National Geothermal Data System that we are helping build and deploy. We got offers at the meeting from half a dozen companies to contribute data on their geothermal installations to the database for Arizona, that can help everyone better evaluate and calculate system requirements.
The day ended with a great roundtable among the group about what's needed to speed up geothermal energy development in Arizona. At a minimum, the networking during the day offered some connections for sharing information and data and a consensus that further meetings of the group will be of great value.