Geothermal in Eritrea, El Salvador, St. Vincent, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Ireland

This post brings you geothermal headlines from Eritrea, El Salvador, St. Vincent, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Ireland.


Pan-European Thermal Atlas/ Heat Roadmap Europe

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Africa and the Middle East

Eritrea – Country Receives $9 Million in EU Funding for Geothermal Exploration

A national energy plan for Eritrea was signed under the framework of the European Union’s 11th EDF (European Development Fund). Eritrea will receive a maximum of $200 million for investment in the country’s energy sector, including redoing the national power grid, constructing stand-alone photovoltaic and wind power supply systems in rural areas and, in addition, the exploration of geothermal resources. An additional $23 million will be allocated to support the financial management activities of Eritrean financial entities.

Under the Funding for Energy for Development improved socioeconomic development via the usage of clean, reliable, sustainable and affordable energy, Eritrea is receiving funding for preliminary studies and exploration phase completed for the geothermal field located at Alid, which is slated to be completed by 2020. Funding available for this project totals $9 million.

Previous work on the site was conducted at the Alid Volcanic center. Angelo Marini from the Italian Institute for Military Geography in 1902 during Italian colonization initiated a preliminary study on the Alid geothermal manifestations. In following decades, no documented studies on geothermal exploration were conducted until 1973, when UNDP-sponsored work was performed which included a reconnaissance survey by a Geological Survey of Ethiopia team (UNDP, 1973). The initial survey located thermal springs along the Asmara-Massawa road and in the Gulf of Zula area, south of Massawa. A second study was launched from the south during the same year and the team visited several of the fumaroles that occur on Alid volcano. Several other early studies were conducted between 1973 and 2005. In 2008, an MT/TEM resistivity survey was implemented with the sponsorship of ICEIDA (Icelandic International Agency) in Alid, depicting an anomaly at the rift floor.

In the write-up of the funding document, it is reported that a lack of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy services is the most critical constraint to poverty alleviation and socioeconomic development in Eritrea. Today, fuel wood and charcoal account for 78% of the energy supply. Electricity rates of 38% nationally remain among the lowest in the world, particularly in rural areas with electricity rates of a mere 10%.

98% of the little electricity generated in Eritrea is from imported fossil fuels, placing a heavy financial burden on the government.

Eritrea’s geothermal energy resources are therefore seen as a great opportunity to help the country develop its own power generation sources.



El Salvador – Government Commits to Geothermal Development

El Salvador’s government has announced its strong commitment to diversify its nation’s energy matrix. “There is a firm commitment, in particular power generation itself, because that is what will allow us to have solid pillars for our country’s industrialization,” stated Eugenio Chicas. the secretary of communications for the President.

Energy diversification is the incorporation of a set of actions and alternatives oriented use of the various options for power generation, including renewable and non-renewable. The official said that one of the government’s expectations is that its commitment to these actions will cultivate “more jobs, more development, [and] more economic opportunities.”

According to the figures, El Salvador is generating geothermal energy – representing today around 25% of the energy consumed daily, and the predictions of the Salvadoran Government brings this production up to 40%.

“The expectation is that the end of the mandate we depend 40% of geothermal energy; but also to grow even more in hydroelectric power that is. That is why this government is betting for many years, for decades we see a new hydroelectric dam,” Chicas said.

This diversification of energy matrix is part of the changes in economics driving this government, and in the opinion of the Secretary of Communications is critical, taking into account that despite the positive numbers that closed last year, El Salvador remains the country with less growth.


St. Vincent – Parliament Approves Bill to Secure Loan to Finance Geothermal Development

A bill to authorize the island government to secure a loan to aid in financing the development of geothermal energy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines was passed in Parliament last week.

The loan from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, totaling $15 million US, will be directed to the government’s geothermal energy project.

While presenting the bill in Parliament, the Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves explained that a large amount of work has already been performed in relation to the geothermal energy project. Gonsalves then outlined some of the works that are planned to be carried out in 2016.

Dr. Gonsalves said the geothermal plant is scheduled to be constructed between March 2018 and April 2019, and added that the government aims to have approximately 10 MW of geothermal capacity installed.

According to Dr. Gonsalves, the development of geothermal energy is predicted to provide the country with a reliable supply of baseload energy, savings of foreign exchange and cheaper energy over the medium term, alongside enhanced wealth creation.


Asia and the Pacific

India – Iceland’s Foreign Minister Discusses Geothermal Development in India on Official Visit

At the invitation of the External Affairs Minister of India Smt. Sushma Swaraj, the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Mr. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, visited India last week. He was joined by a business delegation organized by Promote Iceland. India and Iceland have regularly coordinated high level visits, with the most recent including the visit of the President of Iceland to India in 2013.

Over the course of the official visit, Foreign Minister Sveinsson held a meeting with Shri Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy. They discussed their joint interest in promoting renewable energy and in cooperating specifically in the area of geothermal energy, where Icelandic and Indian companies are exploring the possibilities of creating joint ventures to harness geothermal resources in India. The Ministers also discussed the importance of the Global Geothermal Alliance for promoting the use of geothermal energy around the globe.

“Icelandic companies have the expertise and experience in harnessing geothermal energy. They are keen to have partnerships with Indian companies-private and state-owned-and invest in the Indian market,” said Sveinsson.

Sveinsson stated that he would discuss with Indian leaders means to increase bilateral trade and investments between the respective countries. In 2014-15, the two nations had a bilateral trade of $25 million. Since 2000, India has received $21 million in foreign direct investment from Iceland.

According to Thorleifur Thor Jonsson, manager, trade delegations, Islandsstofa, which promotes Iceland’s industry abroad, India has the potential to produce approximately 3 GW every year from geothermal power.

“India has very good potential for geothermal power generation. But it is best not to utilize the entire potential as many areas with geothermal activity are also tourist spots with geysers and hot springs. So, we have to take a balanced view of harnessing the energy generation potential and maintaining those attractions,” said Jonsson.


Indonesia – KS Orka Obtains Controlling Stake in 240 MW Sorik Marapi Geothermal Project

KS Orka Renewables Pte Ltd of Singapore (KS ORKA) recently signed an agreement to acquire 100% of OTP Geothermal Pte Ltd (OTP) from Origin Energy Geothermal Singapore Pte Ltd (Origin Energy) and Tata Power International Pte. Ltd (Tata Power).

OTP, a joint venture between Origin Energy and Tata Power, holds a 95% interest in Indonesia’s PT Sorik Marapi Geothermal Power (SMGP). SMGP is currently developing the 240 MW Sorik Marapi Geothermal Power Project in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Under the Indonesian government’s new geothermal regulation aimed at supporting the utilization of geothermal for its strategic national energy plan the RI Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources (ESDM) issued a permit for PT Sorik Marapi Geothermal during April 2015 to develop the geothermal project. The undertaking, which is a priority project to provide a continued supply of power in the North Sumatra province, if it moves forward as planned, would help the country address the province’s power crises by 2019, according to the national state power company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara in past reports.

KS ORKA’s CEO Eirikur Bragason said “KS Orka aims to be the leading global developer and operator of geothermal projects. KS Orka has prioritized investments in Indonesia and is targeting development of 500 MW of power generation capacity over the next five years, which would involve an investment of at least US$ 2 billion. The Sorik Marapi Project is an important first step towards achieving this goal.”

KS Orka, is a joint venture between Hugar Orka ehf, an Icelandic company, and Zhejiang Kaishan Compressor Co., Ltd (Kaishan), which is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. KS Orka combines Hugar Orka’s geothermal and project development expertise with Kaishan’s power plant technology and manufacturing knowledge to form Asia’s only vertically integrated geothermal and waste energy company. KS Orka brings to the project some of the most experienced geothermal experts and power project developers in the world.


The Philippines – Valencia Mayor In Favor of Geothermal Expansion Plan

Following objections by an environmentalists group, Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves has reaffirmed his support for the proposed 60 MW geothermal expansion project by the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in the Southern Negros Geothermal Project.

Teves stated that the expansion project will increase the steam field capacity from 222.5 megawatts to 285.5 megawatts of power, necessary to support the rising demand as projected in late 2017.

The mayor also explained that his town would benefit more from royalties and business taxes and further elaborated that the EDC has proven to be committed to responsible development while maintaining a healthy environment in its areas of operation under its 10-million-trees-in-10-years program.

The program is an expansion of EDC’s BINHI Program, which is to plant trees to increase the density of forested areas in the Negros Island Region for biodiversity conservation and watershed management of Cuernos de Negros, or Mount Talinis.

“I recognized that this project will provide mutual benefit for both EDC and the municipality, thus I am enjoining my constituents to provide support to the proposed project,” Teves said.

Teves additionally requested the Department of Environment to expedite the issuance of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) so the project can immediately proceed.

The mayor further recognized the concerns raised by certain groups but during consultations and a public hearing, which was widely disseminated to all the barangays in Valencia, and other stakeholders through his office, therefore mitigating measures were recommended to address any negative effects of the expansion.


Ireland – Country Rich in Shallow Geothermal Resources

Under binding EU targets, 16% of final energy use must be derived from renewables, opening the option of utilizing geothermal resources in Ireland. Geothermal has an energy efficiency rating higher than any other renewable, is available around-the-clock, and, as a baseload source, has a functionality independent of weather.

Geothermal has many purposes: it can be used to heat homes, to provide cooling, can network heat into district heating schemes, generate power if the resource’s temperature is high, and even provide therapeutic treatment in spas.

Research launched by the Geological Survey of Ireland at the recent Geothermal Association of Ireland conference at the Energy Show 2016 showcased that every location in Ireland has the potential to harness shallow geothermal energy utilizing ground source heat pumps.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Geothermal Association of Ireland chairman Ric Pasquali said geothermal energy was “one of Ireland’s hidden assets” when it comes to alternative means of heating and cooling buildings.

“Ireland has an excellent source of shallow geothermal energy, which, coupled with a heat pump technology, can be used for space heating, cooling and hot water,” said Pasquali. “It is also cost efficient, returning an average consistent delivery of up to four units of heat for every unit of electricity used to power the pumps. Geothermal is also the only renewable energy source that is available 24/7, regardless of climatic conditions.”

A number of buildings around Ireland are heated with shallow geothermal technology like the Glucksman Gallery in Cork, the Cliffs of Moher Visitors’ Centre in Clare, and the Ballyroan Library in South Dublin. However, the number of geothermal-heated buildings must rise significantly if Ireland’s 2020 target is to be met.

This was highlighted in a new report by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which said major action is required for Ireland intends to achieve its green energy commitments. These include increasing the number of homes and businesses currently using renewable heat technologies by sevenfold.

Currently, Ireland is just over halfway towards meeting its 2020 renewable energy target, with 8.6% of gross final consumption derived from renewables in 2014.

Pasquali said the report highlighted just how far Ireland was from hitting its renewable energy targets: “Figures on the progress of the renewable heat sector published by SEAI as part of the ‘Ireland’s Energy Targets – Progress, Ambition & Impacts’ report are quite concerning. They show that the number of homes and businesses availing of renewable heat technologies needs to increase sevenfold if Ireland is to reach its target of 12% of renewable heat by 2020.”

“New policies and awareness measures are clearly needed,” Pasquali concluded



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