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LaGeo plans to add up to 80 MW in geothermal capacity by 2024 in El Salvador

Berlin geothermal plant, El Salvador (source: video screenshot)
Alexander Richter 23 Aug 2019

Geothermal utility LaGeo in El Salvador plans to add up to 80 MW in new geothermal power generation capacity over the next 3-4 years, as announced at a recent conference. There are ongoing discussions with the World Bank for financing of its development plans.

El Salvadorian geothermal power player LaGeo has announced plans on completing a geothermal expansion plan over the next four years in El Salvador.

The company hopes to finish the negotiation with the World Bank soon to finance the exploitation of the wells of San Vicente and Chinameca. LaGeo estimates that it has completed its expansion project with the installation of plants in San Vicente and Chinameca within the next three to four years, according to the president of the company, Mynor Gil, who said that there is a “boost” to the negotiation which began during the previous government to finalize financing with the World Bank.

LaGeo is the only geothermal generator in El Salvador with an installed capacity of 204.4 MW through its two plants, one in Ahuachapán of 95 MW and another in Berlin, Usulután, of 109.4 MW. In addition, it has concession rights to the fields in San Vicente and Chinameca, where the previous administration advanced in the exploitation phase but no project was completed.

Gil participated in the Regional Energy Congress (COREN) organized by the Salvadoran Association of Industrialists (ASI).

The previous government had announced that negotiations were being conducted with the World Bank to be able to generate energy with underground steam in San Vicente and Chinameca, as is already done in Ahuachapán and Chinameca.

Gil said that the process they “inherited” began almost three years ago and is “extremely advanced” and that they are giving him the “impulse to be able to finalize something before the end of the year.

“The bet is to add up to 80 MW to the capacity that LaGeo already has, for which a financing of $ 232 million is being managed. In addition to the World Bank, the official said there are other multilateral agencies that have shown interest.

“Our goal is to be able to double the power generation capacity based on geothermal energy, that is the goal we have. Obviously there is a lot of work and investment that must be done and that is what we are doing,” he said.

In addition, he added that in the previous administration some drilling was performed that was not successful, so it must be reinvested. Geothermal energy is the cleanest and cheapest; It also does not depend on climatic factors such as hydroelectric and photovoltaic.

“Geothermal energy is the most profitable there is, that produces 24 hours a day, seven days a week regardless of weather conditions, without depending on oil imports, whether it rains or does not rain, that is what makes it beautiful, enigmatic and interesting the geothermal generation, “Gil added. LaGeo will also increase 10 MW gross to installed capacity in the Berlin binary cycle and will finance it with its own resources.

The company is a subsidiary of the Executive Hydroelectric Commission of the Lempa River (CEL), as is the company Inversiones Energéticos (INE). The president of CEL during the previous government said on several occasions that he would transfer LaGeo’s actions from the INE to CEL directly, but never did. The difference is that the INE is not subject to the same scrutiny as the CEL.

When asked about what will happen to the actions, Gil said: “That I would not know how to say”, and that it was not up to him. For its part, the new president of CEL, Daniel Álvarez, has not yet given statements to the press.

Source: La Prensa Grafica