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German GIZ opens Geothermal Office in El Salvador

Berlin geothermal power plant of La Geo in El Salvador (source: Enex)
Alexander Richter 5 Dec 2013

The German Center for International Cooperation (GIZ) has established a Geothermal Office in El Salvador in cooperation with the National Energy Board of El Salvador (CNE), LaGeo and the International Geothermal Association.

Reported in late November, “the German Center for International Cooperation (GIZ), will attend to and promote geothermal development of small projects through Geothermal Office, a new regional office in El Salvador. The country represents one of the  countries in the region with the highest geothermal potential.

Rainer Schroer, Program  Manager of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency of GIZ said that aim of the office is to encourage companies to invest in geothermal for use in energy production processes, not only for electricity production, but also for thermal applications as well as boiler or cooling, which make them more competitive and self-sustaining in some cases.

“Overall, the Central American region is a paradise for renewables, compared with Europe. Here are plenty of resources for renewable generation, “Schroer said.

The Geothermal Office is run in collaboration with the National Energy Board of El Salvador (CNE), LaGeo, the International Association Geothermal (IGA) and a cooperation of German national and international agencies, among others.

“The Geothermal Office generally aims to improve the investment and regulatory policy framework for investments in renewable energy projects using geothermal energy,” said Rigoberto Salazar, coordinator for the El Salvador Program for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency of GIZ.

The GIZ said they are also working with government agencies on regulations necessary for the exploitation of this resource, in this case with small geothermal projects, as currently the exploitation of natural resources, such as subsurface heat only can be done by the Government.

The Central America is among the regions in the world, with the greatest potential for geothermal power generation. Data from the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP) show that up to 13,210 MW of power generation capacity could be built, almost 13 times the total demand for El Salvador in the region, but with a currently total installed generating capacity of 558.6 megawatts.

El Salvador is the second largest country when it comes to installed geothermal capacity. The country has an installed geothermal power generation capacity of 204.4 MW, which covers 25% of the total energy demand of the country.

As for the potential, El Salvador recorded a maximum of 2,210 megawatts. Honduras and Panama are the only countries in the region that have not yet exploited their geothermal resources.

A delegation of businessmen and government institutions throughout Central America recently attended Geo-T Expo, an International Fair of the Geothermal Industry, held in Germany in November this year.

Source: La Prensa Grafica