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Work on expansion of Cerro Pabellon geothermal plant in Chile progressing

Snapshot of Construction Video for Cerro Pabellon project, Chile (source: YouTube/ Enel)
Alexander Richter 29 Jul 2020

With turbines and generator on site, Enel Chile reports that construction of the 33 MW expansion of the Cerro Pabellón geothermal plant in Chile stands at 55% progress towards completion and planned COD 2021.

In its half year report, Enel Chile provides an update on the status of construction for the third unit of the Cerro Pabellon geothermal power plant in the North of Iceland.

The Cerro Pabellon geothermal power plant has currently a power generation capacity of 48 MW with an expansion in development since 2019. The Cerro Pabellón III project plans to install 33 MW in additional capacity (28 MW net).

The company reports that the environmental permit has already been issued, all required turbines are already on site and the overall progress is about 55%. We initially reported on a planned start of operations in late 2020, but it seems that has been pushed to 2021.

A separate news piece on Mobilidade Sampa reports on the special logistics involved in moving the 67-ton generator for the Cerro Pabellon III project on site.

A 67-ton transformer, 8.2 meters long, 3.2 meters wide and 4.1 meters high will be one of the highlights of the Cerro Pabellón Geothermal Plant, in Chile. It is the first geothermal energy plant in Latin America. All the logistics for transporting the equipment was carried out by Allog, a company with expertise in the transport of large special loads, called project loads. Along with the transformer, six containers also shipped with accessories and oil.

The cargo left Jaraguá do Sul (SC) and went by road to Porto Itapoá, in the north of the state. On the road section, simple carts were used for the containers and a special vehicle (lowered board) for the transportation of the transformer. Due to the weight, according to Guilherme Borini, project analyst at Allog, the equipment had to wait on the lowered board (on wheels) until boarding.

From Itapoá, the generator followed by ship to the port of Antofagasta, in northern Chile. Then it was transported to the Cerro Pabellón Geothermal Plant. The cargo was handled on a Hapag Lloyd liner, a shipowner with knowledge of project cargo.

Project loads

The transportation of project loads requires specific logistics studies at all stages of the trip, with the aim of identifying the best necessary connections, as well as ensuring the approval of all licenses and compliance with regulations determined by local authorities. “The feasibility of transportation must be developed by trained professional teams with prior knowledge of all services provided by different types of shipowners, such as container, roll on roll off (Ro-Ro), breakbulk, in addition to the search for better land operation ”, adds Borini.

The construction of the third unit of the Cerro Pabellón geothermal plant, is the result of a joint venture between the state-owned Enap (Empresa Nacional Del Petróleo) and Enel Chile’s renewable energy subsidiary, Enel Green Power Chile. Located on the high plateau of the Atacama desert, in the Antofagasta region, the plant will generate 33 MW. The new unit, added to the 48 MW of the other two units that are already in operation, will give Cerro Pabellón a total capacity of 81 MW. “When the third unit is fully in operation, the geothermal plant will produce a total of 600 GWh per year, avoiding the emission of 470 thousand tons of CO2 into the atmosphere”, reports Enel.

Source: Enel Chile, Mobilidade Sampa