Three geothermal power pilot projects developed in Colombia
Three geothermal pilot plants pushing the envelop for geothermal energy in Colombia with small installations using co-produced fluids from oil operations.
In the departments of Casanare and Meta in Colombia, there are three pilot projects being developed for geothermal power generation. Developed by the companies Parex Resources and Ecopetrol, they are utilising hot water derived from oil drilling to produce geothermal power. We reported on the first plant starting operation in Colombia in March of this year.
Colombia is described to have good geothermal resources with hydrothermal surface manifestations, related to volcanoes, faults and possibly, conductive systems in sedimentary basins. (Alfaro, C., Rodriguez-Rodriquez, G, “Status of the Geothermal Resources of Columbia: Country Update” (WGC2020).
Parex Resources with the National University of Colombia, Medellín headquarters, put the first project for the power generation from geothermal energy in the country into operation in March 2021. The project is located in Campo Maracas in Casanare. The investment is of more than COP 4.7m [We are not certain about the number given the unclear currency used, but if correct it would translate to roughly $1m] and will have a maximum capacity for the generation of 100 kW, replacing 5% of the energy generated from fossil fuels by geothermal energy. Monthly it will generate 72,000 kWh, equivalent to the consumption of 480 families.
The project received the Innovation Award from the Colombian Association of Petroleum Engineers (Acipet) in the category “Innovation in socio-environmental management and renewable energies”, and has been added to the roadmap of the National Government in its commitment to a system more competitive, efficient and resilient energy.
Parex has another pilot in Campo La Rumba (low enthalpy), in the Aguazul municipality in Casanare, with capacity: 35 kW and generation of 672 kWh / day, equivalent to the consumption of 117 homes.
For its part, Ecopetrol is developing another pilot in Chichimene (also low enthalpy), in Acacías, Meta with a capacity of 2 MW and generation of 38,400 kWh / day, equivalent to the consumption of 6,659 homes.
“The country’s energy transition is a reality that no one can see. Projects such as the geothermal pilots that are starting in the country are an example of how the policy implemented by the national government has generated an attraction that will allow us to continue diversifying the matrix of energy generation in the country, with the mining-energy sector as one of the main axes of the sustainable reactivation of Colombia ”, assured the Minister of Mines and Energy, Diego Mesa.
He explained that due to its privileged geographical and geological position, being located in the Fuego del Pacífico belt, Colombia meets all the conditions for the development of this type of project.
According to data from the Colombian Geological Service, the country’s stored geothermal resources are around 138.60 EJ and an electrical power generation potential of around 1,170 MW.
Source: El Heraldo