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Studies indicate sufficient geothermal resources to power all Gran Canaria

Landscape, Gran Canaria (source: flickr/ Peter Visser, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 15 Mar 2019

Recently concluded studies done on the geothermal resources of Gran Canarias, the main island of Spain's Canary Islands off the Northwest coast of Africa, indicate that geothermal energy could power all of the island.

The first phase of a study to explore the geothermal potential of Gran Canaria maintains that hot underground waters can be found of temperature at around 150 degrees Celsius, as reported by Energías Renovables. Gran Canaria is the main island of Spain’s Canary Islands, off northwestern Africa.

According to the institution Cabildo, the definitive confirmation of this information will come with the 2.5-kilometer-deep test wells that will complete this geothermal exploration study (the geothermal medium enthalpy allows to produce electricity through binary cycle power plants that operate at from water to 105 degrees).

So there are indication that there is enough geothermal energy in Gran Canaria to generate electricity.

The initial phase has had a cost of EUR 535,000 – around USD 610,00 (435,000 contributed by the Cabildo and 100,000 by the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands), and has included geophysical, geochemical and geological studies on the surface that have determined – informs the Cabildo – that the areas with these resources are located from south-east to south of Gran Canaria.

According to the Government of Gran Canaria, these first results allow the second phase, also surface, but more detailed to determine the points where three wells will be able to be drilled. This second phase will last a year and a half and cost another EUR 500,000, while the third will have a much higher cost, since the cost of each drill amounts to EUR 6 million, EUR 18 million in total, to confirm the existence of resources and if they are technically and economically exploitable.

As explained earlier this week by the President of the Cabildo, Antonio Morales, during the presentation of this study, “to conclude with the definitive confirmation of exploitable geothermy will be like winning the lottery.”

Morales appeared before the media with Nemesio Pérez, responsible for the study and Scientific director of the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands Perez joked about the acronym R & D, which in the archipelago of the fortunate islands, he said with irony, responds to ignorance and apathy, because although the potential Canarian geothermal is well known for many years, the truth is that the institutions, he said, have not committed to their exploration and that’s why Canary Islands hardly uses this resource, unlike what happens in the Azores, he said, where they generate with the heat of the earth electricity for more than 60,000 people (Pérez gave other examples: France, Germany, Iceland).

The scientific director of the Volcanological Institute of the Canary Islands assured the media that geothermal energy is not only a resource with competitive costs and comparable to those of wind energy, but also is a continuous and constant generation, which increases its competitiveness.

For his part, Morales pointed out that the data obtained from the studies started two years ago in Gran Canaria point to the possibility that this resource forms part of the energy mix foreseen by the Cabildo together with the dam of Chira-Soria, wind energy and photovoltaics to achieve the highest possible levels of energy self-sufficiency on the island.

Also present at the event was the Minister of Energy of Gran Canaria, Raúl García Brink, who explained that the first phase of the study consisted of four key eleemnts. The first one consisted in analyzing the hydrogeochemical data provided by the Island Water Council, among other public entities. The second action was a geochemical study of diffuse emanations of gases in the atmosphere of the soil in 3,600 points distributed in the north, center, east and southeast of Gran Canaria, the most recent formation, which has meant covering 710 square kilometers.

A magnetotelluric study that covered the entire island with one hundred measurements formed the third action and the fourth consists in the geochemical study of gases dissolved in groundwater in 40 wells that have already been analyzed near the middle and whose completion will give way immediately to the next phase. “We are committed,” said the president of the Cabildo yesterday, “in the implementation of an alternative model to achieve the maximum energy sovereignty possible through renewable energy.” Morales has also insisted on the refusal to gas, given the natural resources available to Gran Canaria to generate energy without polluting the environment and without importing it from abroad.

Source: Energías Renovables