January 19, 2022

Team Profile:
Insights from WGC and COP26

Andy Blair

photo credit:

Andrea Blair was onsite in Europe for both the World Geothermal Congress and COP26. In December 2021, Andy gave a webinar for the New Zealand Geothermal Association (NZGA) to share her experiences from recent international meetings. You can watch the video here, and below summarises key takeaways and shares more links.

World Geothermal Congress 2020+1

The World Geothermal Congress (WGC) concluded with an in-person event in Iceland, in October 2021. Though only two people represented New Zealand at this event: Andy Blair and Andrew Jenks (New Zealand’s Ambassador to the Nordic Region), New Zealand won the most popular booth at the trade show!

Hon Dr Megan Woods, New Zealand's Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Housing, and Minister of Research, Science and Innovation addressed attendees with this video.  

Each WGC a declaration is prepared that talks to the key themes. The recommendations arising from the Reykjavik declaration can be summarised as:

1.     Support collation and sharing of data and information

2.     Incentivise sustainability

3.     Better communicate the benefits of sustainable geothermal

Andy’s top insights from WGC are that we need to:

  • focus on sustainability
  • be bold about championing geothermal
  • talk outside geothermal, into other sectors
  • communicate that geothermal has a broader offering beyond electricity


“Its not an environmental crisis, it’s a human crisis”

COP is the UN’s annual Climate Change conference, attended by 197 countries, where negotiators aim to finalise formal agreements between nations on what they are going to do to mitigate the climate crisis. There are also talks, panels and presentations from business, research, civil and community groups, and much more.

Members of the New Zealand business delegation prepared an insights report, and their experiences, can be watched in this webinar.

Highlights from COP26 included commitments to:  

  • end fossil fuel subsidies
  • include methane reduction targets
  • approve the international carbon market framework
  • race to zero : 750GW renewable energy by 2030
  • decarbonise business assets

Andy’s top insights from COP26 (watch the NZGA webinar for more) included:

  • the combination of urgency and hope focussed the attendees and led to authentic conversations
  • geothermal wasn’t talked about much at COP26. It was part of renewables – but our voices were not loud enough!
  • there’s no silver bullet — act imperfectly (stop seeking perfection and get moving)
  • we can do this, but we have to bring everyone with us

For Aotearoa New Zealand, Andy highlights that we need to:

  • triple decarbonisation investment for 2021-2025 compared to 2016-2020
  • halve our emissions by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2050 at the latest
  • adopt a disruption mindset (especially for regulatory and financial models)

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Business Case & Opportunity
Governance & Regulation


conference presentation
world geothermal congress (WGC)
science communication

Further Updates