News

EDC and partner continue work on Mariposa geothermal project, Chile

Mariposa Drilling Site, Chile (source: Magma Energy)
Alexander Richter 2 Jun 2019

With a grant received under the GDF program, EDC and its Canadian partner Innergex will continue work on the 50 MW Mariposa geothermal project in Chile.

A recent news article from Chile covers the Mariposa geothermal project, a joint venture between Energy Development Corporation (EDC) from the Philippines and Alterra, part of Innergex. Its objective is to contribute, in a first stage, 50 MW to the Chile’s electricity system.

The future of geothermal energy – which is based on the heat obtained from the depth of the earth – is enormous in Chile. ‘This resource is found in places where volcanism abounds, especially in the countries located in the Pacific fire belt, as is the case of Chile.

The economically exploitable potential of geothermal energy estimated for the country is estimated at 3,500 MW, which would constitute 20% of the world’s geothermal energy generation “, explains Joshua Carvacho Villanueva, Business Development Manager of Energy Development Corporation Chile.

It provides a highly consistent and stable energy supply, highly available (95% of the time), flexible and renewable, that transforms geothermal energy into an ideal candidate for the replacement of coal power plants. To achieve this ambitious goal, he says, some steps have already been taken. For example, Chile has a geothermal concession law since 2000. From then on, companies from all over the world invested approximately USD 400 million in Chile and prospected the country, identifying several geothermal fields of high strategic value.

In turn, in 2017, the Ministry of Energy, with the sponsorship of the World Bank, developed the Geothermal Table, a public-private entity aimed at understanding the barriers and possible benefits of the development of geothermal energy in the country. From the table it was obtained that geothermal would bring benefits to the system and that it would be competitive with other sources of base energy (such as LNG and CSP). Today, the member companies of the Geothermal Council (EDC, ENEL and Transmark Renewables) are advancing in their respective projects, awaiting market conditions that allow the decision to move forward with investments of USD 1,200 million. The industry has the potential to reach 500 MW in the next 5 years.

Innovative initiative

A great step in the realization of this objective, says Joshua Carvacho Villanueva, is the development of the Mariposa project, a joint venture between the companies Energy Development Corporation (EDC) -a giant in energy in Asia-Pacific and the private company with more MW Installed geothermal in the world – and Alterra, acquired some time ago by Innergex, another giant of the energy world based in Canada. EDC controls 70% of the project and Alterra 30% ‘, explains the executive that according to the expectations of the consortium, the first 50 MW of the Mariposa plant – located in the Maule Region mountain range – should enter into service in 2024, those that will be incorporated into the national electricity system. ‘Then, we have another 50 MW module planned that would come into service the following year.

It is of the case to emphasize, that for all this to happen, we must find a commercial solution for our project (what in the middle is known as a PPA). And for that, we are looking forward to three important actions that the current government is carrying out and that will have a tremendous impact on the prices of energy contracts: the coal power plant retirement program, the promulgation of the call for ‘law of flexibility’ and the announcements made on environmental matters within the framework of COP25. We believe that Chile has a tremendous opportunity to be an example not only in the region, but on a global level, and be aggressive in the removal of coal from our energy matrix. The companies ensure that the highest standards of sustainability will be applied in the construction and operation of this project.

‘In Asia, EDC is a reference in the care and commitment with the environment and with the communities. This culture is also in Chile and the development of the Mariposa project is closely followed from our headquarters. Recently, we awarded a grant of US $ 600,000 from the German bank KFW for the preparation of surface / complementary studies, which we will use to prepare the Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the Mariposa plant. This study starts in 2019, and we hope to present the study to the SEA during 2020. Taking advantage of the protection of the multilateral organization KFW and the culture of our company, the EIA of the plant will be carried out under the highest environmental standard (IFC). .

In short, says Joshua Carvacho, the Mariposa project is a serious initiative, in charge of responsible companies and with an important presence in markets outside of Chile. ‘Our intention is that this is the first of many projects for the company. We want to insert ourselves as incumbent and relevant actors in Chile’s energy matrix, because we know that we have a useful product for the system, since it offers basic, clean and 100% renewable energy, which can provide flexibility and security for the electrical system. In addition, it is a technology that uses very little water and is capable of bringing sustainable development to local communities. We are convinced that it can be a true engine of the Chile of the future. ‘

Source: NexNews