El Salvador deriving 20% of its electricity from geothermal

The Berlin geothermal power plant in El Salvador (source: Enex)
Alexander Richter 5 May 2010

El Salvador is one of three countries in the world that derive at least one fifth of the energy mix from geothermal resources.

A news piece from El Salvador talks about that “The Central American country is one of three in the world, together with Iceland and the Philippines, where at least one fifth of the energy mix is made up of geothermal resources. The country has two geothermal plants, and there are plans to install two more. Thanks to this geothermal resource and the country’s significant hydroelectric base, renewables contributed 42% of the electricity generated in the first quarter of 2010.

The geothermal power plants, operated by the company LaGeo, are located in Ahuachapán and in Berlín, in western and south-central El Salvador of the country. The first has been in operation for 35 years and the latter for 17 years, while both contributed up to 26% of the total energy mix in June 2009.

The installed capacity of the Ahuachapán geothermal power station, in the department with the same name, is 95 MW, while it has an average generating capacity of 58 MW, representing 61% of the total installed.

Meanwhile, the installed capacity of the Usulutan plant in Berlín is 66 MW, while it can produce 109 MW of power per hour.

Prospecting for a third plant is focusing on the municipality of Chinameca, San Miguel, although LaGeo’s Chiarman, Napoelón Guerrero, has revealed that work is also progressing in San Pablo Tacachico, La Libertad, where he said three wells are already in production.

In the first three months of 2009, geothermal energy generated 22% of the electricity required by El Salvador. This generation data was supplied by the Transaction Unit (UT), an entity that manages the El Salvadoran electricity market.”

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine