Colombian geothermal potential estimated at 1,170 MW

Colombian geothermal potential estimated at 1,170 MW Macizo Volcanico del Ruiz, Columbia (source: Recursos Naturales de Colombia)
Alexander Richter 4 Oct 2021

Colombia's Geological Service estimates a geothermal potential of 1,170 MW for the country and identifies three regions with the greatest potential.

Local news from Colombia report on released estimates for the geothermal potential by the  Colombian Geological Service (SGC). The preliminary study estimates a potential of 1,170 MW of geothermal power generation capacity for Colombia.

Geothermal energy as energy source, while still not used effectively in  the country, is part of the energy transition route of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, favoured by the geographical and geological position of the country in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Claudia Alfaro, geothermal research coordinator of the SGC, explained that the location in an active tectonic zone (Pacific Ring of Fire) and the geothermal resources related to the volcanoes, make Caldas, Risaralda and Tolima three of the departments with the greatest potential for generation due to volcanoes such as San Diego, Nevado del Ruíz and Cerro Bravo.

Other high enthalpy areas are the Puracé volcano, in Cauca, and the Nariño volcanic zone systems (Doña Juana, Galeras, Azufral and Cumbal).

The Executive Director of SER Colombia, Germán Corredor, affirmed that there has been no direct drilling that allows the resources to be secured with certainty. However, he pointed out that the Nevado del Ruíz de Isagen project is the most advanced.

However, Corredor added that “interest on the part of the private sector has not yet been shown since it is necessary to promote the public sector.” Colombia has geothermal resources of 138.6 Exa Joules, that is, one trillion Joules.

“There is the potential for generation with geothermal energy, but Colombia has not entered the stage of its development. Law 2099 will give some guidelines ”

Currently, with an investment of around US$1.2 million, Parex Resources, MinEnergía and the Medellín National University have put into operation the first geothermal power generation project in Campo Maracas, in Casanare, which expects to have a capacity of 100 kW.

Parex and Ecopetrol are preparing two additional low enthalpy pilots in Aguazul and Acacías, with a capacity of 2.03 MW between the two, which would provide energy to 6,776 families.

For his part, Christiaan Gischler, the geothermal lead for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) geothermal leader, pointed out that Colombia has great geothermal potential representing an opportunity for the replacement of coal-fired plants.

Source: La Republica