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Costa Rica celebrates 25 years of sustainable geothermal generation

Miravalles geothermal plant and solar plant (source: ciee.org)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 26 Mar 2019

Costa Rica celebrates 25 years of geothermal power generation. On March 24, 1994 the 55 MW geothermal power plant of Miravalles I by Grupo ICE started operation.

Earlier this week, Costa Rica celebrated 25 years of geothermal power production by the Costa Rican utility ICE.

Today, the country has the third largest installed capacity in the Americas, behind the United States and Mexico.

The wells that were drilled and got the country started in its utilisation of geothermal energy are still active and in production, as a result of the sustainable vision of the resource that ICE implemented since the investigation period.

It is the Miravalles I plant, in the Geothermal Field Alfredo Mainieri Protti, located in Bagaces, Guanacaste.

“At the beginning of the 1990s, work began on the development of deposits and surface works that made the first geothermal plant in Costa Rica enter into commercial operation on March 24, 1994, with an installed capacity of 55 MW,” he recalled. Eddy Sánchez, director of Geothermal Resources of ICE.

“A mission of Experts of the United Nations who visit the country in 1963-64 agreed on the interest in studying the slopes of Miravalles and Rincón de la Vieja volcanoes, both of them located in the north part of the country and which showed high possibilities for the geothermal resource exploitation. In 1974 the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) began a general study of the mentioned area. Deep drilling started in 1978, when a high-temperature reservoir was discovered and more exploratory studies continue until 1985 (Corrales, 1985). A feasibility study for the first unit recommended the installation of a 55 MW power plant (CE and ELC, 1986), but later studies increased the possible installed capacity. Subsequent drilling stages completed the steam necessary to feed three flash plants commissioned in 1994, 1998 and 2000, and one binary plant in 2004, totalling an installed capacity of 163 MW. Three 5 MWe wellhead units have also produced for different periods, and one of them is still in use.” (Osvaldo Vallejos Ruiz, ICE, “The Miravalles Geothermal System, Costa Rica” (UNU-GTP 2013).

Source: La Republica