Cerro Pabellón plant expected to start operations by mid-2017

Cerro Pabellón plant expected to start operations by mid-2017 Ollagüe Volcano, Antofagasta, Chile (source: flickr/ Anthony Tong Lee, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 5 Oct 2015

ENAP and Enel Green Power expect the first phase of its 48 MW Cerro Pabellón project in Antofagasta, Chile to start operation by mid-2017 with major components to be assembled off-site due to project altitude.

Geothermal energy development in Chile has taken a hugely important first significant step with the start of concrete work on the Cerro Pabellón project by ENAP and Enel Green Power. The 48 MW project is located in Ollagüe in the Region of Antofagasta, at an  elevation of 4,500 meters above sea level.

With an estimated resource potential of 16,000 MW, the feasible development potential is described to be as 3,500 MW in possible power generation capacity.

In a recent interview, Marcelo Tokman, the CEO of ENAP said that the launch is scheduled for the first half of 2017. “Cerro Pabellón will use ORC technology (Organic Ranking Cycle), whose main characteristic is its ability to re-inject 100 % of the produced fluid into the same reservoir and the plant equipment works in isolation with no direct contact with the geothermal fluid.” He further describes that the plant will see a “pre-assembly of the main components in Calama, helping to reduce activities to be done on the project site, which due to the altitude of the prject site are always more complicated and costly.”

Regarding the future operation of the plant,Mr. Tokman informs that “the geothermal fluid will never take contact with the atmosphere and cooling towers to be installed will be ” air-cooled “, which will prevent water freezing problems during plant shutdowns, a risk that would be present with the operation of a flash-based power plant.”

In the interview, Mr. Tokman provides an estimated start of operation date for Phase 1, “during the first half of 2017, with full operation start during 2018.”

The project is seen as a major milestone for geothermal development in Chile and could pave the way for further projects by ENAP and Enel Green Power, as well as other developers in Chile.

Source: Electricidad, Revista Energética de Chile