Tester: Visit from Iceland will ‘open doors’ for Montana energy development

Delegation will visit Helena, Butte to discuss geothermal energy

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – This weekend's visit to Montana by a delegation from Iceland will "open doors of opportunity" for energy development in Montana, Senator Jon Tester said today from his office in Washington.

The delegation, made up of seven business and government leaders from Iceland, will visit Helena and Butte Saturday and Sunday for a series of presentations, tours and meetings with energy developers.  They will discuss Montana's potential for geothermal energy development.

                        "Montana's got the potential to be among nation's leaders in developing geothermal energy. And it all starts with this weekend's visit," said Tester, a member of the Senate Energy Committee and a longtime proponent of renewable energy development.  "Developing geothermal resources will bring jobs and positive growth to Montana while tapping into a clean, abundant source of energy."

Geothermal energy development produces heat and power using resources like hot springs and warm rock under the earth's surface.  Iceland heats 87% of its homes with geothermal power.  Geothermal energy accounts for 54% of Iceland's electricity.

Tester invited the delegation after a speaking to the president of Iceland several months ago, and after learning that Montana has abundant geothermal resources all over the state.

"There's no doubt about it, Iceland is the world's leader in developing geothermal energy," Tester said. "I look forward to showing the folks from Iceland what Montana has to offer, and showing them how interested we are in working together with them."

The delegates from Iceland scheduled to visit Montana this weekend include:

·        Dr. Eyjolfur Arni Rafnsson, Board Member, Geysir Green Energy.

·        Audur Nanna Baldvinsdottir, Marketing Director, Geysir Green Energy.

·        Magnus Johannesson, CEO, Iceland America Energy.

·        Arni Magnusson, Managing Director, Glitnir Bank.

·        Egill Juliusson, Geothermal Reservoir Specialist, Glitnir Bank.

·        Holmfríður Sigurdardottir, Project Manager, Reykjavik Energy.

·        Hlynur Gudjonsson, Trade Commissioner for North America, Icelandic Consulate.

Tester is a cosponsor of the National Geothermal Initiative Act of 2007, which sets aside $90 million next year for geothermal research, then $135 million per year through at least 2012.