Geothermal energy could be key driver for economy in Central America

Geothermal panel at COREN2018, El Salvador (source: ASI)
Alexander Richter 27 Sep 2018

During a regional conference on energy in Central America, organised by ASI in El Salvador, a panel discussion on geothermal energy highlighted the opportunities provided by this type of energy for the region, both for electricity generation and direct use.

With a rapidly increasing demand for electricity in Latin America, several countries in Central America have started a path towards more sustainable energy economies. It is estimated that between 2011-2030 electricity consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean will grow up to 80% of its energy matrix and may expand cross-border connections.

As part of a the Regional Energy Congress, Coren 2018 held for the fifth consecutive year by the Salvadoran Association of Industrialists (ASI) key players of the energy sector in the region and beyond meet.

In a panel focused on “Renewable Energy in Central America: what are the perspectives of geothermal energy?”, the discussion focused on the progress made in the region regarding clean energies.

Integrating sources of clean energy has become a more conscious means of supplying electricity. This integration has allowed countries to take more advantage of the compatibility of their resources to reduce the need for basic electricity supply from fossil fuels.

The integration of new joint policies, the unification of the electricity markets, the strengthening of regulatory frameworks that promote the use of renewable energies to ensure energy supply are factors for which governments must integrate into this energy revolution.

Mariano González, senior energy specialist at the World Bank, said during his participation in the panel that one of the resources, such as geothermal energy, could bring great financial, economic and social benefits by providing employment opportunities to communities, thus improving quality. of life of vulnerable families.

While it is true that countries such as El Salvador and Costa Rica have made progress in harnessing the heat of the earth for the generation of electric power, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), through its Geothermal Development Program, offers to collaborate with the experts to strengthen the geothermal region’s work and thus contribute to the development of areas that are not exploited as much as are the applications of direct use (ie, thermal waters, drying coffee using heat waste, among others).

Tanja Faller, the regional director of the Geothermal Development Program in Central America, a project commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ, added that “geothermal work is a paradigm shift and that is why it is important to work closely so that the region continues to advance, strengthening capacities in this area “.

Caption of photo: 5th Regional Energy Congress (COREN 2018). Panel participants: Tanja Faller of the GIZ; David López from Grupo CEL; Víctor Hugo Ventura of ECLAC; Mariano González of the World Bank; Alexander Richter of IGA; Marianela Ramírez from ICE and José Estévez from LaGeo.

Credit: Courtesy ASI 2018.