Meet the Board 2021

Throughout the year, we’ll introduce you to each of our Board Members, letting you know the people behind the scenes running the Association.

Here are the interviews we’ve conducted so far:

Paul Siratovich, NZGA President

Katie McLean, NZGA Vice-president

Paul Siratovich

NZGA President

What first attracted you to the geothermal industry?

I can remember as a kid being fascinated by volcanoes and earth sciences, which progressed to a love of geology. I had a short stint in the hydrocarbons sector before finding a home in geothermal. Now I am able to enjoy geology and do something good for the planet at the same time – the best of both worlds!

Additionally, we have a community of smart people and we get to solve some complex problems on small budgets so we are forced to be creative and work together. I really enjoy this aspect of the industry.

Our people are top-notch – they are friendly, approachable and truly care about contributing to a sustainable way of living.

How long have you been involved with NZGA, and to what extent?

I’ve been involved with the NZGA since 2010 as a member and have been on the Board of Directors since 2016. I served as the Vice-President for two years and will serve as President for another two years.

What do you hope to achieve during your time as NZGA President?

It’s a time of change for our industry as the realities of climate change are becoming more apparent every year. Geothermal has a substantial role to play in the net-zero carbon transition for New Zealand and the NZGA is well-placed to show strong leadership in this space. We need to have the right conversations with government, our stakeholders and the public to illustrate the strengths of our industry (and being straightforward and honest on our shortcomings).  It’s important we continue to increase our visibility and make sure we are participating in wider NZ climate change and energy discussions – we need to challenge our thinking and focus on engaging in broader debates and discussions.

Success for me will be to have a Board and Association that is energetic and active, engaged in important discussions and demonstrating leadership in the energy and climate sectors for Aotearoa.

 

Katie McLean

NZGA Vice-president

What first attracted you to the geothermal industry?

Quite simply because of climate change. I studied renewable energy at university and wanted to be on the right side of history, working in an industry that was making a positive difference. I am going to spend tens of thousands of hours at work over my career – I want that work to be something I really believe in. Also I have two beautiful girls and so the future seems more important than ever.

How long have you been involved with NZGA, and to what extent?

I have been involved with the NZGA for two years, first as a regular board member, then secretary, and now vice-president. The main project I have been involved in is work on geothermal CO2 emissions. The original ‘project’ was to update an out-of-date table of geothermal emissions data on the NZGA website. It expanded rapidly into a broader program to educate those within and outside the geothermal industry on many aspects of geothermal emissions, resulting in two conference papers so far and a number of presentations. In 2021 we will continue documenting operational geothermal emissions, and also look at lifecycle emissions across the range of NZ energy sources, as this is the only way to paint the full picture of how carbon-intensive an energy source is.

What do you hope to achieve during your time on the Board?

I am motivated to see how we can tell the geothermal story more widely and effectively, both to the NZ government and our communities – there are so many benefits to geothermal other than power stations. Geothermal has had a relatively low profile in New Zealand and the time has come to be more prominent and more engaged with the world outside our industry.

On that note, one great initiative I am really looking forward to helping with this year is “Geothermal Week” in July in Taupo (organised by Enterprise Great Lake Taupo) – a town that is surrounded by geothermal fields and power plants, and yet there is only a low level of awareness of geothermal and its unique history in the area.