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48 MW Cerro Pabellon geothermal plant starts operation in Chile – first in South America

Cerro Pabellon geothermal power plant, Chile (source: developer)
Alexander Richter 31 Mar 2017

South America's first geothermal power plant, the 48 MW Cerro Pabellón plant by Enel Green Power Chile has started commercial operation. Built by Ormat Technologies, the plant is a joint venture between Enel Green Power and Chilean National oil company ENAP.

Reported today by Enel Green Power in Chile, the 48 MW geothermal power plant of Cerro Pabellon has started commercial operation supplying electricity to SING, a system supplying energy to Northern Chile.

The Cerro Pabellón plant is located at an elevation of 4,500 meters above sea level in the Ollagüe commune in the Atacama Desert. The plant is the first geothermal installation in all of South America, and the first large-scale high enthalpy geothermal plant in the world built at such high altitude.

Built by Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. (EGPC), the Chilean subsidiary for renewable energies of the Enel Group, and the Hydrocarbons National Petroleum Company (“ENAP”), began supplying electricity to the Northern Interconnected System (SING) serving northern Chile.

The facility is composed of two units with a gross installed capacity of 24 MW each and is owned by Geotérmica del Norte SA (“GDN”), a joint venture controlled by EGPC (81.7%) and in which ENAP 18.3%). The plant was built by Ormat Technologies.

“Cerro Pabellón starts generating electricity is a very important milestone for us in Chile,” said Guido Cappetti, General Manager of GDN. “Thanks to our unique geothermal experience we have been able to take advantage of Chile’s enormous geothermal potential, strengthening Enel’s and Enap’s commitment to diversifying the Chilean generation matrix through a new source of renewable energy.”

Once in full operation, the plant will be able to produce around 340 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption needs of more than 165,000 Chilean households, avoiding the annual emission to the atmosphere of more than 166,000 tons of CO2 .

Cerro Pabellón incorporates the most advanced geothermal technology, which makes it very suitable to the extreme conditions of an area marked by high thermal oscillation and high geographical altitude. In order to generate energy, the plant extracts the geothermal fluid from the reservoir found during the exploration phase of the project, and once the fluid has completed the generation of electricity, it is injected back into the reservoir, guaranteeing the long-term sustainability of the resource .

Italian Enel Group is a multinational energy company and a leading player in the global energy, gas and renewable markets. The renewable energy arm fo the company, Enel Green Power, already manages almost 38 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, Of biomass and hydroelectric plants in Europe, America, Africa and Asia. In Chile, through EGPC, Enel currently operates a portfolio of renewable plants with a combined installed capacity of more than 1.1 GW, of which 564 MW come from wind energy, 492 MW of photovoltaic solar energy and 92 MW of hydroelectric power.

Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP) is the leading, vertically integrated and wholly owned company in the Chilean state, active in the production, refining and marketing of hydrocarbons and their derivatives. In Chile, ENAP operates through three business lines: Exploration and Production (E & P), dedicated to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons; Refinery and Commercialization (R & C), which operates the Aconcagua, Bío Bío and Gregorio refineries, where crude oil is processed and converted into fuel, and Gas and Energy (G & E), which is responsible for developing the electricity generation business To gas and other non-conventional renewable sources. The company also operates abroad through its subsidiaries ENAP Sipetrol and ENAP SIpec in oil and gas production in Argentina, Ecuador and Egypt.

The picture below was shared by Enel Green Power via LinkedIn.

CerroPabellon_Chile_EnelGreenPower

Source: Enel Chile