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Enel plans 30 MW expansion of Cerro Pabellon geothermal plant, Chile

Cerro Pabellon geothermal power plant, Chile (source: ENAP)
Alexander Richter 30 Jul 2018

As part of announced investments of up to $700 million, Enel has announced plans to expand the capacity of its 48 MW geothermal power plant of Cerro Pabellon by 30 MW within the next 3 years.

As part of its $700 million investment plans for renewable energy projects in Chile, Enel is planning an expansion of the 48 MW Cerro Pabellon geothermal power plant in the North of the country.

Valter Moro, General manager of the subsidiary Enel Green Power, explains that this decision – which involves installing almost 600 MW of new capacity in solar, wind and geothermal – responds to the good prospects of the free electric customer market.

Moro explains that initially EGP’s portfolio development, which considers three initiatives totaling almost 600 MW, was focused on backing the contracts that Enel was awarded in the last two supply bids for regulated customers.

In practice, this implied that the bulk of the capacity should be available by the year 2024, when these supply commitments come into effect. However, now the intention is that the new facilities are operating the first half of 2021.

“There is a very good opportunity in the free market to go out and offer bridge contracts, which allow us to advance these projects that have very competitive operating costs and in line with the price dynamics that exist in Chile,” Moro says.

Moro explains that 20% of the nearly 6,000 GWh that Enel was awarded in the 2016 large auction will be supplied with energy from new EGP projects, while 100% of the volumes captured last year, where they were left with half of what was available (equivalent to 242 MW of installed capacity), will correspond to initiatives that will be built.

Moro estimates that by 2024 Enel will be responsible for 30% of the supply of the system to regulated customers.

This plan involves an investment of around US $ 700 million and considers the execution of three large projects, two of variable source.

The first is a solar park of 380 MW capacity that seeks to install between the regions of Antofagasta and Atacama, while the second unit will have a little more than 100 MW and corresponds to a wind farm, which will be located between the regions of Biobío and the Araucanía an area that presents the best wind resources in the country.

In both cases they are already quite advanced with regard to the processes of obtaining the different permits that these facilities require.

The third part of this plan includes the expansion of the Cerro Pabellón geothermal plant, the first of its kind in South America and the one that operates at the highest altitude worldwide. Here, the 48 MW that are already in operation, will add another 30 MW of capacity, which will require a marginal investment, compared to what they have already executed there.

Source: La Republica