Aysén region in Chile initiates work on studying geothermal potential

Aysén region in Chile initiates work on studying geothermal potential Aysén, Chile (Source: Annais Ferreira, Flickr, CC)
Francisco Rojas 22 Oct 2014

The SEREMI for Mining in Aysén, Chile, in conjunction with the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA) will make an estimate of the geothermal resources in the Patagonian region of the country.

Local news from Chile report that the Seremi (The local government) for mining will be working conjointly with the Andean Geothermal Center of Excellence (CEGA) in order to map the geothermal potential of the region of Aysén.

As stated by the Seremi, they are choosing to prioritize geothermal energy because they want to contribute to the exploration of this resource that is yet to be appraised in the region. Through this initiative, Aysén is aligned with the policies of the Ministry of Energy, which seeks to diversify the energy mix where geothermal energy represents a real alternative to current energy sources. This project has the support of the Seremi of Energy and Environment, therefore demonstrating that energy problems can be solved with innovative proposals and caring for the environment

Geothermal energy is considered one of the most promising renewable energy sources in Chile, with an estimated potential ranging between 3,500 and 16,000 MW. To date, its use in our country is limited almost exclusively to recreational uses, such as hot springs, but during the last five years several projects have slowly emerged that leverage the abundance of this resource for the productive sector as in the case of vineyards, crops, buildings (heating systems), schools, among others.

In the case of the Aysen region, it is expected that geothermal energy can be used in direct and through indirect applications.

The first estimations will begin in December this year with the recognition, analysis and sampling of the different thermal manifestations existing in the region. “Our goal is to establish the hydrochemistry of thermal sources, which can give us an idea, on the nature of  said resources and the temperature that these fluids might have ” says Dr Linda Daniele, Hydrogeologist and researcher CEGA participant in this project.

In addition to the estimated geothermal potential of the region, the project includes the identification and characterization of the different existing thermal activities in the area; generating geothermal favorability map, a map showing the probability of occurrence of suitable geothermal systems for power generation noted; and the proposal for a pilot project for direct use of geothermal energy in the area. ” The first stage of this project involves quantifying the resource in the region, that the information handled to date, it is already quite favorably with surface temperatures above 80 ° C. This is very encouraging, since in countries like Germany where geothermal energy is used to a certain extent, they must drill up to 3,000 meters to find temperatures of 90 or more degrees and we already have surface temperatures with similar ranges, which would reduce costs greatly ” says Seremi, Ana Valdes

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Source: CEGA via Piensa Geotermia