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New approach on pushing private & public geothermal development in Chile launched

View over Santiago/ Chile (source: flickr/ Jorge Láscar, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 3 Jan 2017

A recent workshop by Chile's Ministry of Energy in cooperation with the World Bank aims to restart geothermal development in Chile, under a Technical Assistance Program by the World Bank.

A workshop on geothermal development in Chile was recently held in Santiago/ Chile. Attended by representatives of the Division of Renewable Energies of the Ministry of Energy, ACHEGEO.AG, Geothermal Council, ACERA, CEGA and ENEL among others, the event was held by Chile’s Ministry of Energy, in cooperation with the World Bank.

The event was to foster discussions about the geothermal potential in Chile and the real opportunities for geothermal development, with a focus on electricity generation and their possible impact on interconnected electricity systems in the country.

The Ministry of Energy, in cooperation with the World Bank, is currently implementing a Technical Assistance Program for Geothermal Development in Chile. This project includes, among other things, the creation of a Geothermal Bureau with a participation of all key players of the industry.

The initiative, which will be implemented by Fundación Chile, a technical secretariat supported by the Energy Center of the University of Chile. Fundación Chile is in charge of the systemic analysis of different geothermal energy penetration scenarios, aiming to show the real opportunities for the development of high enthalpy geothermal energy projects for electricity generation, the operational and economic implications of their inclusion in interconnected electrical systems and their development potential in the national electricity market.

In this context, a first workshop was held on 22 December 2016 discussing the geothermal potential for development in Chile; possible development scenarios; as well as CAPEX and OPEX of geothermal projects. The workshop also discussed operational parameters of a geothermal plant and to review with the experts the methodological work for the systemic modelling.

The workshop allowed to share a preliminary diagnosis, enriched with the opinions and experiences of more than forty participants. Attendees included: Christian Santana, Head of the Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Energy; Fernando Allendes, President of the Chilean Association of Geothermal Energy, ACHEGEO AG; Gonzalo Torres, President of the Geothermal Council; Carlos Finat, Executive Director of the Chilean Renewable Energy Association, ACERA; Diego Morata, Director of the Center of Excellence in Geothermal Energy of Los Andes, CEGA; among others.

The “Geothermal Table” (Geothermal Stage)

The work program of the Geothermal Bureau considers the execution of five workshops in three stages. In the first place, the costs of developing geothermal projects in Chile and establishing the LCOE will be identified, validated and agreed with the geothermal companies present in the country.

As a second step, we will work to identify the systemic impact that the development of geothermal energy can introduce into the interconnected electrical system, analyzing the potential benefits and differentiating elements of geothermal energy.

Finally, the relevance of studies of public policies for the development of geothermal energy in Chile, including development tools if justified, will be analyzed.

For the analysis of the results, the group of experts will use the same methodology used in the ERNC 2030 Table; However, the focus of this new working table is different because of the analysis of geothermal integration in the electrical system in order to review the potential benefits of other technologies and their complementarity in the joint operation in the system.

The analysis horizon is until 2050 and the focus will be on the short-term operation in 2025 and 2035, with the objective of analyzing the potential benefits that geothermal energy can bring to the electrical system.

Source: ACHEGEO via PiensaGeotermia