El Salvador could more than triple its current installed geothermal capacity

El Salvador could more than triple its current installed geothermal capacity Berlin geothermal plant, El Salvador (source: video screenshot)
Alexander Richter 11 May 2018

El Salvador could increase its installed geothermal power generation capacity from today 204 MW to 640 MW with its resources, according to a specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank. This though requires heavy investment and capacity building efforts.

As reported this week, El Salvador has the potential to produce 440 MW in addition to the 204 MW already installed geothermal power generation capacity, according to Toshita Takeuchi of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Toshitaka Takeuchi.

With this, the energy production obtained from geothermal could increase to 644 MW in the coming years, he said. What is needed is more investment and more training, said the expert.

Although the country is considered the leader in Latin America in terms of installed capacity, participating in geothermal energy with 25% of the national demand, Takeuchi indicated that geothermal experts are lacking depending on the development that the country already has in this area.

It is precisely in the search to increase knowledge in this area, that yesterday a specialization course in geothermal energy was inaugurated that will instruct 23 scholars (13 nationals and 10 foreigners), who will be shown the Salvadoran experience. Young people will participate in the diploma course for five months at the University of El Salvador. Local and international teachers from Iceland, Germany, Italy and Chile will teach the students. The IDB finances this project with an investment of $ 2.2 million.

Takeuchi also commented that the item needs more investment. At this point, Julio Valdivieso, president of La Geo – the only geothermal company in the country – said the company continues to invest in opening more wells and giving maintenance to others, despite the litigation maintained by its two main shareholders, Cel (through of INE) and the Italian Enel Green Power.

In fact, he said that a study is already being prepared to determine what other investments can be made in the plants located in Ahuachapán, Chinameca (in San Miguel), San Vicente and Berlín (in Usulután). Some of these wells are more than 36 years old since they were opened and La Geo wants to give them a greater capacity for generating energy. Valdivieso acknowledged that to reach a generation of 600 MW in the coming years will require large investments.