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Overview on geothermal plants and development in Nicaragua

San Jacinto-Tizate, geothermal power plant, Ram Power/ Polaris Geothermal Nicaragua (source: Ram Power)
Alexander Richter 21 Jan 2016

An interesting article on the existing geothermal plants, development concessions and geothermal fields in Nicaragua provides a great overview on the geothermal opportunity in Nicaragua.

A publication dedicated to the promotion of renewable energy in Nicaragua has provided a great overview on geothermal energy development in Nicaragua.

With 1,700 MW development potential, geothermal energy represents the second most widely available power source in Nicaragua.

In the Nicaragua Geothermal Master Plan ten areas of geothermal interest are identified alongside the Pacific volcanic chain.

Geothermal areas assessed interest are: Volcano Cosiguina, Casita-San Cristóbal Volcano, Volcano Telica-El Ñajo, San Jacinto-Tizate, El Hoyo-Monte Galan Volcano Momotombo, Managua-Chiltepe, Tipitapa, Masaya-Granada-Nandaime and Ometepe Island.

There are currently two geothermal fields in operation: Momotombo and San Jacinto Tizate. For the geothermal fields of El Hoyo-Monte Galan-Chiltepe Managua and Volcan Casita-San Cristóbal concessions have been issued to private companies to undertake exploration geoscience research.

For the fields at Volcano Cosiguina, Telica-El Najo, Tipitapa, Masaya-Granada-Ometepe Island Nandaime no concessions for exploration work have been issued yet.

Geothermal fields with operating power plants

Momotombo:

The Momotombo geothermal field is located in the extreme southeast of the Cordillera de los Maribios, about 40 km northwest of the city of Managua, on the shores of Lake Managua and the southern slope of the Momotombo Volcano. The Momotombo field is the most studied of Nicaragua geothermal area. It has an operating area of ??two square kilometers and the first research was conducted in 1966; in 1974 the first deep exploration well was drilled.

In 1983 the first generating unit of 35 MW became operational; in 1989 a second unit of 35 MW was installed, bringing the total capacity to 70 MW.

In 1999, Enel signed a Joint Venture with the company Ormat lasting fifteen years. The contract ended in June 2014. The plant is operated by Ormat. In 2003 Ormat installed and put into operation a binary cycle power plant with a capacity of 7 MW.

In June 2013, the gross capacity of the Momotombo plant is 25.00 MW including the binary cycle plant.

San Jacinto-Tizate

The geothermal field of San Jacinto-Tizate is located in the Cordillera de los Maribios, approximately 75 km northeast of the city of Managua, 10 Km. northeast of Telica and 20 km northeast of the city of Leon.

During the period of 1992-1995, INTERGEOTERM, SA conducted exploratory research and deep drilling in an area of ??the geothermal concession covering an area of ??90 km2 around San Jacinto-Tizate.

Currently Polaris Energy Nicaragua has the exploitation concession for the field with a duration of 25 years. From 2005, the company started to develop the field, operating with two turbines at the wellhead with capacity of 10 MW which were integrated to the National Interconnected System, SIN.

In 2013, it completed the second phase expansion of the San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal plant, with installed capacity of 72 MW and 60 MW being produced.

For details on existing concessions and fields with currently no concessions issued, see article (link below).

Source: Engergia Limpia