Geothermal in Egypt, Zambia, Dominica, Mexico, China

This post brings you geothermal headlines from Egypt, Zambia, Dominica, Mexico, and China.

Domo de San Pedro

Domo de San Pedro – Aerial view of U3 together with Substation, SAGS, and Power House of U1&U2

Image Credit: Grupo Dragon

Africa and the Middle East

Egypt – Memorandum of Understanding Signed to Develop Geothermal

Egyptian Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker and Petroleum Minister Tarek el-Mulla attended last Sunday the official signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to use geothermal energy in the region

The MoU was inked between the South Valley Holding Company for Petroleum (Ganope) and the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA).

The MoU fits within the framework of the cabinet’s desire to harness new and renewable energy in order to ease the pressure on consuming the traditional forms of energy (petroleum and gas).


Zambia – New Update on Geothermal Exploration in Bwengwa River Region

In a recent press release, the Zambian-headquartered geothermal exploration company Kalahari GeoEnergy Ltd provided an update on their ongoing exploration of geothermal systems in the Bwengwa River area in the nation:

“Kalahari GeoEnergy Ltd, the Zambian based geothermal exploration company, is pleased to provide an update on the ongoing exploration of their geothermal targets within the Kafue Trough.

The Kafue Trough

The Kafue Trough is a sedimentary basin filled by the Permian-aged Karoo sequence, overlying metamorphic Basement rocks; it is located to the west of Lusaka and extends westward into the Barotse Basin. The Company has to-date identified six Geothermal Resource Areas, including .Bwengwa River

The surface manifestations of the Bwengwa River Geothermal Resource Area include geothermal springs that extend over 7km and lie on the southern bounding fault of the Kafue Trough. Ongoing exploration has to-date included the drilling of 5 (five) temperature gradient holes totalling 1,980m.

Results confirm a geologic setting conducive for geothermal hydrothermal systems and also give a strong probability of a medium-low enthalpy geothermal resource that can support a power generation project of at least 10MW. Heat-in-place, power density and heat flow methods were used, providing a consistent estimated usable resource capacity in the range of 10-20MW.

The Bwengwa River Geothermal Resource Area contains compelling evidence of the three key elements required for hosting a hydrothermal system: temperature, permeability and water. Evidence for minimum reservoir temperature from 130?C to more than 150?C is provided by both fluid chemistry and temperature gradient holes. Permeability is confirmed by the discharge of the hot springs along the regional bounding fault and the associated geologic structures. The reservoir is in fractured basement rocks at a shallow to medium depth adjacent to the bounding fault. The source of water is local meteoric water that is plentiful.

Work Program

In order to test the conceptual geothermal reservoir model for the Bwengwa River Geothermal Resource Area, further characterize the geothermal reservoir temperature, permeability, size and confirm initial estimates of reservoir capacity, the Company will drill up to four additional exploration holes. These holes will be designed as slim wells and will be targeted to encounter 130O to 150OC geothermal fluids near the top of the reservoir. If the wells and subsequent testing are successful, the results will be used in a feasibility study that could be completed by July 2017.

The Kafue Trough is highly prospective for additional geothermal resources similar to Bwengwa River; it is therefore considered realistic that ongoing exploration may well significantly increase the current estimated resource capacity.

The Company’s exploration work, which is conducted in accordance with geothermal industry standards and best practice, has included the drilling of temperature gradient wells together with geology, geophysics and geochemistry. Exploration results have been reviewed by Geologica Geothermal Group Inc. an international geothermal resource exploration and resource assessment consultancy.

Peter Vivian-Neal, the CEO comments that “Results obtained in 2015 provide further confidence that Bwengwa River has the characteristics of a viable geothermal resource for power production”.
“The current indication of a 10MW, or greater, power project, to be generated using binary technology, represents a positive step towards the Company’s objective of producing geothermal power. Ultimately, geothermal power may provide a valuable component in Zambia’s drive to increase generation capacity and distribution”.

“It is of note that under the Australian Geothermal Resource and Reserve Code, the Company’s resource would be currently defined as ‘Indicated’. The work to be undertaken this year is planned to raise this to a ‘Proven and Probable’ reserve for use in the intended feasibility study”.

Regulatory Market

Zambia and the surrounding countries are currently facing severe energy deficits. Additional generating capacity and distribution is considered essential for Zambia to achieve its development goals The Zambian Government and other relevant institutions are taking determined measures to engage the private sector and diversify the power industry. The Company recognises that the necessary regulatory frame-work is in place and there is precedent, for the private sector production, transmission and sale of electrical power in Zambia. There are ongoing initiatives to adopt cost reflective tariffs.

Geothermal Energy in Zambia

Zambia hosts a number of geological structures including non-volcanic extensional basins, hot granites and in the north, part of the East African Rift System, that are recognised as being prospective for geothermal energy. Historic work identified a number of prospective targets and a Zambian-Italian joint venture built a geothermal pilot plant on the Lake Tanganyika Rift structure in the 1980’s.

Geothermal power is sustainable, operates at a high capacity and is environmentally benign. In addition, the direct application of heat for agro-industrial processes could have a significant impact in strengthening food security at a time of uncertainty as to the effects of climate change.

About Kalahari Energy Ltd:

Formed in 2010, Kalahari Energy is a privately owned, Zambian-registered, exploration company whose objective is to be an Independent Renewable Energy Power Producer. The management and its’


Dominica – PM Skerrit Encourages Private Sector Investment in Geothermal

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is encouraging private sector organizations to invest in Dominica’s geothermal project which he considers crucial to the island’s development.
PM Skerrit made the request as he stressed that as a small island state, Dominica must often make the difficult choice between renewable energy investment and other much-needed major developments due to a general resource scarcity.

“We should never have a situation where our country should have to make a determination on whether we advance our renewable energy initiatives or divert the resources to other areas,” Skerrit explained.

“The sustainable use of our natural resources are too critical to our survival for us to be forced to make a determination on whether we invest in geothermal energy or we reconstruct our roads. I believe that we should have sufficient access to the resources to allow us to do both simultaneously.”

The Prime Minister stressed his government’s commitment to the geothermal project.

“The project will be pursued by the government whether it is with a loan or with a partner, I am saying that that project will be pursued by the people and Government of Dominica. I believe it is an opportunity for the private sector…to be part owners by putting equity into this project and having a joint project between the Government and yourself,” Skerrit concluded.

The Swedish Ambassador to Dominica, Claes Hammer, has offered a commitment to support Dominica’s geothermal efforts.


Mexico – Grupo Dragon Will Commission Geothermal Unit at Domo de San Pedro

Grupo Dragon recently made public that a 3rd unit has been completed and will be soon commissioned on the Domo de San Pedro geothermal field in Nayarit, constituting the first private geothermal field in Mexico. The condensing unit carrying an installed capacity of 25.5 MW will be brought online last week of April 2016.

Construction on this unit of the power plant commenced in October 2014, was commissioned February 2016, and it is now undergoing the final performance tests. The power plant construction alongside the turbine and generator manufacturing was made under a “turn-key” contract with a leading Japanese OEM.

This power plant will play a key role on the energy distribution in the region, delivering stable, baseload renewable energy from local geothermal sources to the grid.

Currently, two back-pressure units of 5 MW each have been in operation but will be shut down at the end of April with the steam flow redirected to the new condensing unit.

Even when back pressure units (BPU´s) require nearly twice the specific steam consumption per MW compared with condensing units, they provide flexibility, operational and time advantages that the tailored large condensing type units do not offer. These appealing factors provide project developers and utilities with the possibility of a quick deployment to begin electricity generation directly at the wellheads or in a centralized arrangement. The size, simplicity and portability of these types of units decreases installation and commissioning time and costs for approximately a third of that compared to standard condensed units, mostly because these types of units can be handled utilized in different projects without major adaptation.

This is why in 2015 two 5 MW “second hand” back pressure units were brought, installed and commissioned at the Domo de San Pedro geothermal field. The units were originally manufactured in 1990 by ACEC in Belgium, were in service in other parts of Central America and were subsequently thoroughly serviced and upgraded in 2014 by Grupo Dragon. The overhaul required a deep cleaning of blades, rotor balancing, cooling system enhancements and replacement of the control equipment with a cutting edge digital control system with semi-automated features. The speedy deployment of these back pressure units helped Grupo Dragon test well behavior and commence commercial power generation over one year ahead of expectations.

Of the two BP Units, N°1 will be kept at the Domo de San Pedro Field as a backup unit for programmed shutdown maintenance works of the Unit 3 and N° 2 will become readily available to be used in other geothermal projects worldwide.


Asia and the Pacific

China – Ethiopian President Encourages Chinese Investors to Support Renewables Like Geothermal

Over the course a briefing of Liao Shengcong, Vice President of China National Electric Engineering Company Ltd, Ethiopian president Mulatu Teshome petitioned Chinese investors raise their involvement in geothermal and renewable energy investment in the African nation.

The above remark was made by Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome after the briefing of Liao Shengcong, Vice President of China National Electric Engineering Company Ltd about Reppie Waste-to- energy Power Plant Project it is currently constructing around the capital city.

Ethiopia has large reserves of geothermal, solar, wind and other renewable resources, Mulatu said, statomg that the government is committed to providing all the necessary support to investors who desire to engage in the sector in the country.

President Teshome further encouraged the company and additional Chinese companies to expand their businesses to others areas.


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