Each issue will feature a similar style of interview questions with a geothermal leader from around the world. Magaly provided the following response.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge we face in the geothermal industry?
O’Brien: One of the biggest challenges our industry has is communicating the value it brings. In reality, geothermal is a mature technology that hasn’t had as much investment as our peers in O&G or Mining where profits are higher. In particular, when being compared with other energy sources the total cost of ownership is not considered and that is where geothermal is strong. If we can begin to paint the picture of the broader value (energy transition, job creation, energy security, Baseload, etc) geothermal brings and begin to communicate more frequently with those outside our industry we will see the rewards
Q: What are you doing to help mitigate this challenge?
O’Brien: One of the key areas of uncertainty in geothermal projects is our fuel source which is beneath our feet. Our efforts at Seequent are focused on providing software that allows people to articulate the complexities of the subsurface in a way that allows technical people to collaborate and test assumptions while at the same time making it consumable to non-technical stakeholders. The aim is to help streamline decision making and reduce costs around high-cost activities like data acquisition, drilling, and optimising operations by allowing the subsurface to be communicated through a platform that promotes communication between all the stakeholders in a project.
I also sit on the board of the New Zealand Geothermal Association where we are pushing hard to paint the picture of the opportunity geothermal offers Aotearoa to the wider community.
Q: What are you most hopeful about with our industry?
O’Brien: Geothermal in all its different form is positioned to play a crucial part in the energy transition, tackling climate change, and providing energy security for countries are reliant on fossil fuel-based energy. I’m particularly excited by Geothermal Power being identified as an area that is especially promising but underfunded by Bill Gates and the Breakthrough energy venture fund. Also by the surge in activity in geothermal for heating and cooling especially in Europe, the potential, this provides means this will become the largest part of our industry if its value can be communicated effectively.
Q: How important are public outreach, strategic marketing, and brand management to further promote and educate the public about our industry? And Why?
O’Brien: Crucial, the stories that resonate most with those not in our industry are those where they can see the impact we are having on their community. Without clear, consistent messaging in a professional manner, we cannot compete with those around us who do this very well.
This concludes our Q&A with Jeremy O’Brien. A special thanks for your time with this interview and your leadership in geothermal.
Thank you for being a part of the first Energy Branding & Marketing Insights issue. Please share this newsletter and encourage your friends and colleagues to subscribe.