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CEO of Enel sees further geothermal growth for the company in Chile

Enel CEO Francesco Starace on site at Cerro Pabellon, Chile - Sept. 2017 (source: Office of President of Chile)
Alexander Richter 20 Sep 2017

Enel Green Power plans further development of geothermal projects in Chile on concession areas the company holds at Colorado, San José and Yeguas Muertas.

Earlier this month Enel Green Power officially inaugurated Cerro Pabellón – the first geothermal plant in Chile and South America, jointly developed by state-owned Enap. But – according to Enel CEO Francesco Starace, this is only the beginning and  Enel is already thinking of continuing to grow in the development of geothermal energy in Chile. Enel’s CEO, Francesco Starace said that in his quick visit to Chile he outlined some of the steps he wants to take in this line.

“We may continue to grow in geothermal energy in Chile. Possibly we will expand this plant because it has the resources to be twice what it is now, “said the executive when consulted by La Tercera.

For Starace, Cerro Pabellón, which is located 4,500 meters high, in Ollagüe, Antofagasta Region, is relevant not only for being the first geothermal unit in the region and the first in the world that is located at that height, but also due to the technological innovation that it uses to generate the current 48 MW that supplies the Norte Grande Interconnected System (Sing).

“This is a binary cycle system, which expels heat and hot water together, ie it is a biphasic fluid. This is quite technical, but for us it is very important, because with this technology different horizons of geothermal development are opened in Chile and outside of Chile. That’s why, technically for us, it’s a very important plant, “explained Starace.

But Enel’s geothermal development not only wants to boost it in Ollagüe, but also in the other concession areas they have in Chile. This is the Colorado concession that has 16,800 hectares in the Region of Antofagasta. Also San José I, that covers 74.801 hectares located in the precordillera of the Metropolitan Region; and Yeguas Muertas, 74,101 hectares that are located 70 kms. to the south of Santiago, near Rancagua.

“We have other exploration concessions in Chile and in those now we are going ahead to work,” said the Italian executive.

Cerro Pabellón, a plant whose construction required an investment of close to US $ 320 million, is owned by Geotérmica del Norte (GDN), where Enel Green Power Chile holds 83.65%, and Enap participates with 16.35% . The first 24 MW unit began delivering power to the power system by the end of March, while the second unit will be fully operational in October.

Source: Latercera