Scenario planners like Peter Schwartz often talk about "signpost" events.
These are happenings, often small in and of themselves, which suggest a larger change rippling through the ether of a business, industry or nation.
There have been a number of signpost events in the geothermal sector recently.
A few months ago I discussed the emerging trend of advanced-stage geothermal projects being bought by major players in the sector such as Ormat.
Yesterday came another important indicator. Oil-field services major Schlumberger buying out California-based GeothermEx consultants.
GeothermEx is one of the top groups in the geothermal space doing project feasibility assessments. They have written reports on most of the major geothermal projects in the U.S. and abroad. The group will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Schlumberger.
The acquisition is an aggressive move by Schlumberger into the geothermal space. The company sees something they like here, and they want to be a big part of it.
This is just one more indication that the geothermal business is "ready for prime time". Profitability in the sector is increasing, in large part due to recent tax incentives introduced by the U.S. government.
Increased profitability always drives an industry forward. The signs are telling us the drive is definitely on for geothermal.
By. Dave Forest of Notela Resources