The 50 MW Cerro Blanco project in Guatemala receives permit

Pacaya and Agua volcanoes as seen from Guatemala City (source: Commons/ wikimedia, Sir James)
Alexander Richter 26 Nov 2015

The Guatemala Ministry of Energy and Mines has issued a development permit to the 50 MW Cerro Blanco geothermal power project.

Reported in conjunction with the recently concluded GeoLAC conference in Managua, Nicaragua, the 50 MW Cerro Blanco geothermal project has received its development permit from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) in Guatemala. The project is located in the south-southeast of the country near the border to El Salvador.

The owner of the project is Oriental Geothermal Guatemala, SA, and is located in Asuncion Mita, Jutiapa department. The authorization enters into force today, with ministerial decree 332-2015, which was released today in the Journal of Central America.

The agreement, signed by the deputy minister of energy and mines, Alfredo Galvez Sinibaldi, indicates that the company must submit a security of US $ 375,000 to MEM.

In September this year, the MEM provided a 30 year authorization for the project of US Geothermal Guatemala, SA, at Amatitlan with a planned capacity of 25 MW.

In March, the MEM approved an extension to make geothermal studies to establish the conditions and potential of the country for that resource generation to the National Electrification Institute (INDE). The Zunil area developed by INDE includes two geothermal reservoirs called Zunil 1 and 2. Since 1999, Ormat holds the concession, which also includes the Orzunil geothermal plant .

Guatemala has two geothermal plants producing 24 MW each, both are owned by Ormat. The Orzunil geothermal power plant works with eight production wells, which are owned by the INDE.

“The geothermal resource is state property by law and can only be exploited through concessions granted by INDE under contracts to companies interested in creating this resource,” he said.

In 2014, MEM launched a corporate strategy to encourage investments in geothermal development in Guatemala, indicating a potential of 1,000 MW of which currently only 4.9% is being utilised. There is yet an investment model to be defined that could be encourage such projects.

Source: Prensa Libre