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The first geothermal power plant in Honduras starts operations

News piece on Platanares plant by Ormat in Honduras (source: LaPrensa Honduras)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 18 Sep 2017

The first geothermal power plant of Honduras in Central America started operation. The 35 MW Platanares plant was built and is owned by Ormat Technologies.

First tests are being conducted at the Platanares geothermal power project in La Unión, Copán in Honduras, Central America. The plant has an installed power generation capacity of 35 MW with an estimated investment volume of US$ 200 million.

This is the first project of its kind operated in Honduras by Geote?rmica Platanares SA de CV (Geoplatanares) and its parent company Ormat Technologies, Inc, which develops similar projects in Guatemala, Nicaragua, United States and other countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

The plant is making final acceptance tests and the commercial operation is expected to be formalized in the last week of September 2017. Luis Fernando Suazo, consultant and expert on energy issues, said that this project will bring tremendous economic benefits to the Company National Electric Power (Enee) and a great improvement in the quality of the energy service in the western region of the country, in particular Santa Rosa de Copán and Ocotepeque.

Suazo indicated that the Platanares plant is in final tests and its commercial operation will begin when the Enee technicians make the respective inspection and verification to extend the certificate of commercial operation. “But since the tests began the plant went into operation and already injects energy into the interconnected system and the country benefits,” said the expert. The energy generated by Platanares will be marketed as part of the 30- year power purchase agreements signed with the national power company of Honduras .

The Platanares geothermal project is regulated by the Law for the Promotion of the Generation of Electric Energy with Renewable Resources, which was enacted in 2007, according to which it can benefit from an exemption from income tax during the first 10 years of operation.

Elsia Paz, president of the Honduran Association of Renewable Energy (Aher), stressed that this project will benefit a large region of western Honduras facing supply problems and transforming electricity,

He stressed that geothermal energy has many advantages not have the other renewable sources, such as the fact that the water and steam resource is 24/7, and is available 24 hours, seven days a week. “They have an installed capacity of 100% power availability and this is very timely because it is a backup energy that allows very good planning by the final purchaser, in this case the Enee, he said. The expected value per kWh is cheaper at around $0.102/ kWh.

In 2013, Ormat signed a Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) contract for the Geotérmica Platanares geothermal project in Honduras with ELCOSA, a privately owned Honduran energy company, for approximately 15 years from commercial operation date (COD). In December 2015, Ormat concluded the drilling activity as well as extensive tests that support the decision to construct a 35 MW project, which is larger than initially estimated.

Source: LaPrensa Honduras