Iceland’s Geothermal Training Programme likely to see experts from Peru and Colombia joining Programme

Iceland’s Geothermal Training Programme likely to see experts from Peru and Colombia joining Programme Malmfridur Omarsdottir (right) with a former GTP student at Momotombo geothermal plant, Nicaragua (source: M. Omarsdottir)
Alexander Richter 16 Mar 2020

The GRÓ Geothermal Training Program in Iceland is expecting experts from Peru and Colombia to join its programme in Reykjavik. This follows meetings of an expert of the programme visiting the countries earlier this year.

“Peru has a considerable number of geothermal areas and good potential for utilizing geothermal energy for heating and energy production. There is also a great need, especially in the high mountain villages in the Andes, where about 200 people die from the cold every year, “says Málfrídur Ómarsdóttir, environmental scientist at the GRÓ Geothermal Training Programme in Iceland. She says experts from Peru are likely to come to Iceland for training at the Geothermal Programme next year or in the near future. So far the Programme has not had experts from Peru among its students which has been operating for over forty years.

Málfrídur has just returned from a field trip to existing partner organizations in Central and South America, where she explored the possibility of partnering with new organizations in new countries. “The purpose was to interview candidates for the six-month training programme in Iceland, to explore the possibilities of collaboration and to explore the geothermal development of new partner countries,” she says.

In Peru, the main impediment to the utilization of geothermal energy [in the country] has been the lack of resources, knowledge and training of the local people. In the capital Lima, Málfrídur spoke with the representatives of the country’s major geothermal companies and introduced them to the activities and purpose of the Geothermal Training Programme. “They were very appreciative of this offer of assistance from Iceland to train professionals from Peru and enable the people of the country to utilize this indigenous and environmentally friendly energy resource that lies beneath the earth’s crust,” says Málfríður.

Colombia has also not previously sent experts to the Geothermal Programme. Málfríður visited several agencies that conduct geothermal surveys, environmental assessment and geothermal development in Bogotá, Manizales and Medellín and met their representatives and employees. Interviews were conducted with several employees and the first student expected to come to Iceland this spring. According to Málfríður, Colombia has set itself the target of having 10 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2022, and the energy company EPM had plans to drill five wells in the Nevado del Ruiz geothermal area. However these plans have been put on hold, due to damages to a large hydropower plant. The focus now is on repairing those damages before continuing with other plans in the energy sector in the country.