Had a chance to meet with Hakon Gunnarsson, the Managing Director of Gekon and he has been leading the initiative to bring all the Icelandic Geothermal related companies in forming a cluster. I am not a big fan of these cluster concept, if you have read my previous blog post about the Seafood Cluster. That being said, I do believe creating an accelerator program for new startups in the Geothermal space is not such a bad idea. I think that is precisely what Hakon is planning to do. It was interesting to hear all the work that has gone into mapping the cluster, interfacing with all the service providers and research organizations. I am usually amazed at the amount of time that is wasted in doing all of this and the money that it takes to organize these things but I guess it is cost of engaging with established companies who really are not in the business of disrupting their own business model. Geothermal has always been a fascinating source of energy for me, I got a lot of knowledge about it while I was working for Glitnir.
There is an abundance of this energy in Iceland, Dr. Michael Porter believes that there is an great opportunity for Iceland in this space. I am not that smart but I believe creating an ecosystem where new companies can innovate and create value in this niche technology is not such a bad idea. I believe this because there is a reservoir of knowledge and experience and experimentable area in Iceland, however tapping it and using it in a responsible manner is always a debate. I think the challenge Geothermal Energy development companies have is the large capital need in the early stage and I believe software and data can solve this problem for the typical engineering challenge. I have worked with Engineering companies like Mannvit who are experts in doing feasibility studies and designing and implementing the engineering solution to tap this energy source. There is so much more that can be done, I think the biggest opportunity is in applying the latest software and data techniques to mitigate one of the biggest risks in Geothermal development which is the risk of sucking the water table below the earth and also predicting the real potential of the source of geothermal energy across the globe. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of work being done in this area and once again there is a huge generational gap in people working in this area. I am excited to see how Hakon is going to take this idea forward.
There is a calendar of events related to this starting to happen in Iceland and I am glad to see an entrepreneur taking the lead on this. If you are in the Geothermal space reach out to Hakon and be a mentor to the new generation of companies that he plans to facilitate through the establishment of Startup Geothermal… an accelerator for Geothermal entrepreneurs. I am starting to see a trend here 🙂 What do you think?
- Iceland: Pioneer in Green, Geothermal Energy (juancole.com)
- Back to Basics Video: What Is Geothermal Energy Anyway? (renewableenergyworld.com)
- Geothermal Energy in Iceland: Too Much of a Good Thing? (renewableenergyworld.com)
- Iceland Geothermal Conference spreads green energy industry message (icenews.is)