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Geothermal energy as solution for the energy demand of Islands around the world

Angra, Terceira, Azores/ Portugal (source: flickr/ Brett211, creative commons)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 3 Dec 2018

Geothermal energy is a real option for power generation development on many islands around the world, e.g. in the Caribbean, the Pacific, but also on Atlantic islands such as the Azores. So we are proud to announce our IGC Islands event to take place 15-16 May 2019 on Terceira Island, Azores/ Portugal.

In a recently published article by EniDay, looks at how geothermal energy has helped the island of Terceira in the Azores get closer to reach its clean energy ambition.

The island group is located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the larger islands of the archipelago, with a population of 56,000 people. The Azores island group belongs to Portugal.

The article discusses “how one would build a geothermal power plant on a volcano, in a natural reserve, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?”.

The Pico Alto geothermal power plant planned and developed by Italian supplier Exergy, CME and EDA Renováveis is now supplying 4 MW of geothermal power to the island. The plant has so far not only been able to provide a renewable energy source of electricity for the island, but also at times have allowed it to rely on mainly renewable sources several days a year.

For islands with limited space and own energy sources, fossil fuels have been a key source of energy – while a rather expensive one. In the Caribbean and other island groups, e.g. in the Pacific – it is not unheard of that electricity prices for businesses and homes can reach $0.50/ kWh and beyond. Clearly a huge issue in order to maintain a functioning local economy.

Geothermal energy as one energy source is therefore a particularly interesting source of energy for many islands in the Caribbean, in the Pacific, and on the Azores Islands. Placed alongside tectonic plates, they feature geothermal resources that could allow for development of electricity generating projects. Geothermal energy provides a cost-effective energy solution providing electricity around the clock and this with no fuel cost. While not replacing other renewable energy sources, it provides a great base for consistent energy supply. This does not even tackle the even greater and much wider options of utilising geothermal energy for direct use, e.g. for cooling, spas, food dehydration etc.

Today, the Azores already feature five geothermal power plants on the main island of Sao Miguel. They provide around 50% of electricity for the island. The European Commission even has launched a “Clean Energy for All European Islands Initiative” with geothermal clearly as one option.

In the Caribbean, one geothermal plant on Guadeloupe is producing power today, while several other projects are planning to develop plants, among others on St. Vincent, Nevis, Dominica, Montserrat and St. Kitts.

A successful project such as that of Exergy and EDA Renováveis is therefore a great example how things could develop. ThinkGeoEnergy and its German partner Enerchange is therefore happy to announce a joint event focusing on Geothermal Energy development on Islands, IGC Islands – Azores, to take place 15-16 May 2019 in cooperation with Exergy and EDA.

Here below a short interview, we took with Luca Xodo of Exergy during the GRC Annual Meeting 2018. (sorry about the bad video quality)

 

In a presentation we shared earlier this year, Exergy provides details on the Pico Alto plant providing a good idea on the value of a plant like this for the island.

 

Harnessing geothermal power in islands and remote areas: The Pico Alto geothermal project from exergyorc

 

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Source: EniDay, Teazorean