Ecuador’s first geothermal plant to be developed at Chachimbiro, Imbabura

Drilling rig on site at Chachimbiro, Ecuador (source: CELEC)
Alexander Richter 2 Oct 2019

The planned geothermal power project at Chachimbiro in Ecuador is moving forward with funding from Japanese JICA planning a 50 MW geothermal power generation capacity.

News from Ecuador report today, that the country’s first geothermal power plant will be developed in Chachimbiro, Imbambura. The first exploratory well has been drilled, funded with non-reimbursable resources from the Government of Japan, through the International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The planned power plant is to feature 50 MW in geothermal power generation capacity. The Electric Corporation of Ecuador (Celec) authorized the hiring of a credit line for $ 60.1 million for the development of the 50 MW Chachimbiro geothermal project, which will be located in the Urcuquí canton of the province of Imbabura. The Board of the public company, which is chaired by the Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Carlos Pérez, also declared infrastructure development as a priority.

The construction of the geothermal plant will reach an investment of $ 250 million.

The project is currently in the field development phase; For this first stage it will have a budget of $70 million, of which $60 million are financed by the Official Loan of JICA. In a fist step, it is planned to install a 5 MW geothermal wellhead plant that could start operation as early as 2022.

Since March 2018, tests have been carried out in the first exploratory well, with satisfactory results, since temperatures of 235ºC have been found that are ideal for installing a geothermal plant.

The Chachimbiro geothermal project is part of the new projects that are prioritized by the Government within the long-term expansion of the electricity sector, and which seeks to meet the energy demand of Ecuadorians in the future.

Currently, the installed capacity is sufficient to meet the needs of the country; however, the demand grows to 4.9% per year, which determines the need to plan properly in order to avoid shortages in the future.

Source: La Hora, CELEC