Geothermal in Ecuador, Mexico, St. Lucia, Indonesia, Iceland, and Turkey

This post brings you the latest geothermal headlines from Ecuador, Mexico, St. Lucia, Indonesia, Iceland, and Turkey.

The Americas

Ecuador – Ecuador Plans With Geothermal in New Long Term Energy Policy

Ecuador is in the process of establishing its long term Energy Policy with the objective of having a functional energy matrix for the requirements of the production matrix of the country in order to boost the creation of new development clusters, the substitution of imports, technology transfer, increase of export, innovation and the creation of new quality working places for the next 25 years.


In October 2016, the government of Ecuador published the National Energy Agenda 2016-2040, a public policy document which objectives are the consensus about the current situation in the industry and the elaboration of future development scenarios for the sector and the way each of them will evolve. This information will be the base for the construction of the Energy Policy.


The official document mentions that in the future Ecuador could have one of the most competitive and clean power generation matrix, generating more than 90% through renewable sources.


Up to now, Ecuador does not have any geothermal MW of electricity online and the geothermal potential is estimated in 1.000 MW.


In the National Energy Agenda 2016-2040, geothermal energy will play a role in the objective 2.1, which refers to the consolidation a more renewable and efficient energy matrix besides the diversification of the power generation matrix in renewable and non-conventional energysources.


Mexico – Key Joint EU – Mexico Geothermal Research Project Kicks Off

The €20 million GEMex project brings together European and Mexican researchers to explore new sources of geothermal energy. The research cooperation will run for three years under the supervision of INEA.
Andrew Standley, Head of the European Union Delegation to Mexico, and Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexico’s Energy Secretary, gave a joint announcement on the project’s launch yesterday in Morelia.
GEMex will develop innovative methods for accessing the earth’s vast resources of heat now trapped in variable geological formations. The ultimate objective is to make this renewable energy source cost-effective and affordable both for electricity and heat production. The project will adhere to the strictest environmental standards and address issues around social acceptance of the technology.
The EU and Mexico contribute equally to the €20 million project. The EU’s share comes from Horizon 2020, and the other from Mexico’s Fondo de Sustenibilidad Energética (SENER) – Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).
29 partners from Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom will collaborate in the three-year project. INEA will oversee its implementation.


St. Lucia – Saint Lucia to Host World Bank Geothermal Supervision Mission

A World Bank team will be visiting Saint Lucia from November 21 to 23, 2016, to conduct an implementation support mission for the Saint Lucia Geothermal Resource Development Project.


A series of sessions have been planned from November 21 to 23, 2016 involving officials of the World Bank,Saint Lucia Electricity Services, Clean Infra partners and the Government of Saint Lucia.


The main objectives of the meetings are: to obtain an update on the current status of the project, confirm the proposed drilling programme and to determine and confirm project design as well as to discuss the prefeasibility assessment and the environmental and social aspects of the project.


The next phase of geothermal exploration operation includes the implementation of an initial exploration drilling programme and associated well testing, aimed at exploring and harnessing geothermal energy in Saint Lucia.


To this end, the World Bank Group is coordinating efforts towards the mobilization of USD15-18 million of grant and concessional funding for the Geothermal Resource Development Project, in order to reduce overall project costs on the government and the tariff to consumers.
Geothermal energy is the optimal option for diversifying the power generation mix in Saint Lucia, as it can provide reliable base load electricity and can reduce Saint Lucia’s vulnerability to electricity price volatility.


Saint Lucia`s Geothermal Development Project is forecast to supply between 15 MW to 30MW of base load and expected to be operational by 2023.


Asia and the Pacific

Indonesia – First Phase of Sarulla Geothermal Plant Set to Begin Operations in January ’17

Ormat Technologies expects to begin commercial operations in January 2017 for the first 110-MW phase of its Sarulla geothermal power plant in Tapanuli Utra, North Sumatra in Indonesia, Ormat CEO Isaac Angel said during a Nov. 8 company earnings call.


Angel said the project is in the commissioning and “fine-tuning” stage, and commercial operation has been delayed briefly due to a work stoppage.


Ormat, as part of an owners consortium with PT Medco Energi International, Itochu and Kyushu Electric, is developing the Sarualla project in three 110-MW phases.


“For the second phase [of the Sarulla project], engineering and procurement has been substantially completed, site construction is in progress and all of the equipment to be supplied by Ormat was delivered,” Angel said. “For the third phase, engineering and procurement is still in progress, construction work at the site is in progress and manufacturing of equipment to be supplied by Ormat is underway as planned.”


He added that drilling activities for the second and third phases are still going on.


“Based on the preliminary estimate, the project has achieved to-date approximately 80 percent of the required production and injection capacity,” Angel said.


Operation of the second and third phases is expected to commence within 18 months after the commercial operation of the first phase.

Earnings Report

Ormat Chief Financial Officer Doron Blachar said during the earnings call that, for 3Q16, Ormat’s total revenue increased 13.4 percent to $184.6 million, compared to $162.9 million in 3Q16.


Ormat’s revenues in the electricity segment increased 12.9 percent to $109.8 million in 3Q16, up from $97.2 million in 3Q15. Blachar said that the increase was primarily attributable to the commencement of operation of the second phase of the Don Campbell power plant in Nevada in September 2015 and to the commencement of operation Plant 4 at Olkaria III Complex in Kenya in January 2016.



Iceland – Additional Wells Required to Maintain Output of Hellisheidi Geothermal Plant

Already planned in the overall set up of the 303 MW Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, ON – the operator – now needs to actually drill additional wells to maintain its operating capacity. The steam supply in the Hengill geothermal area that fuels the plant is decreasing at around 2.3% every year. With an installed capacity of 303 MW the plant is currently operating with an output of 276 MW ON (Reykjavik Energy) has an overall installed geothermal power generation capacity of 423 MW, of which 120 MW come from the Nesjavellir plant and 303 MW from the Hellisheidi plant, both fuelled by geothermal resources in the same area of Hengill near Reykjavik, Iceland.

ON now expects to have to invest up to $221 million over the next six years to drill additional wells. Power production of hydro power plants depends primarily on stream flow availability and water reservoirs, while power production of geothermal power plants depends on steam availability from multiple boreholes. In the Hengill geothermal area the recent decrease in boreholes performance has resulted in less power production and underperformance of the Hellisheidi power plant. Steam supply in the Hengill geothermal area was in 2013 deteriorating by an estimate of 2.3% per annum and the decline has even accelerated until now Nov 2016. The Hengill area was initially intended to supply sufficient steam to the Hellisheidi power plant, but the boreholes are currently not as productive as before and decrease in performance more rapidly than originally assumed.

There are indications that the power plant has been expanding too rapidly. In 2012 Reykjavik Energy initiated work on connecting the high temperature area in Hverahlid to the Hellisheidi power plant. The project was commisioned earlier this year. The steam pipes are unprecented 5 km long and require sophisticated moisture separators. The Hellisheidi power plant are with installed capacity of 303 Mwe, but at the end of 2013 was only showing output of 276 MWe.

Additional steam from Hverahlid only increases production of Hellisheidi power plant by 45 MWe. Previous plans assumed to build a new power plant at Hverahlid but these plans have now been abandoned. The decision to transport steam from Hverahlid and reinject additional water output at the power plant site, will result in an estimated capital cost of 221 MUSD for the next six years.

Turkey – Turkey Aims to Raise $28 Billion Investment for Renewable Energy Resources by 2020

According to a prediction by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the country of Turkey is likely to raise around $28 billion for renewable energy resources. The predictive report claims that the investment for such a project will be raised by the year 2020. Apparently, the reason behind this prediction is that Turkey has always been known for its abundant production of energy resources. As a result of this, companies from all over the world are eager to invest over here. The IFC is a part of the World Bank Group.


Turkey holds the position of an energy importer and has high aims of increasing the overall production of renewable energy resources. This results in the increased use of renewable energy in place of electricity production. In accordance with such various factors, Turkey is a potential investment in the clean energy sector by interested companies.

Details about the investment in the renewable energy resources

The predictive report is a part of the Anadolu Agency’s compilation from the IFC. This is known as the “Climate Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets” report. Turkey will receive $27.7 billion in the form of investment for the renewable energy sector. The company has potential investors who are showing immense interest in the project. Successful completion of this investment is of utmost importance for the development of the renewable energy sector in Turkey. The amount $18.6 billion is for the new green buildings. This is in order to keep up with the pace of urbanization and industrialization in the country.


Out of the total amount, $16.4 billion is for wind energy, $7.4 billion for solar energy, $3.4 for geothermal, and $560 million for the hydroelectric field. Apart from these investments, there are different projects which come under the scope of the environmentally friendly developments in Turkey. Notably, an investment worth almost $47 billion will be in projects like transportation infrastructure, waste management, and green buildings.


In addition to this, there will also be noteworthy investments in the transportation sector which is one of the fastest growing fields of Turkey. For this project, there will be investments worth at least $24 billion to enhance low carbon transportation by 2020. Moreover, there is an expectation of $4.4 billion investment in the field of waste management.

Positive aspects of the renewable energy sector

According to the report by IFC, the growth of Turkey in gross domestic product has left many countries behind. This progress is despite the recent political events which took place in the country. Such a scenario has raised the interests of the investors in Turkey’s energyefficiency.
Also, the country is currently stressing on the creation of a more sustainable environment. This will take place by various factors like the dissemination of electric vehicles for transportation to reduce the pollution level. Reports suggest that on the basis of such plans, there will be more eco-friendly investments in terms of transportation.


Moreover, Turkey plans to substitute 37 percent of its electricity generation with renewable energy resources by 2023. The IFC claims that the nation is gradually moving forward to achieve this goal. In reference to this aim, the plan consists of building an additional capacity of 20,000 megawatts of wind energy. In this case, production of 5,000 megawatts of solar energy will take place along with 600 megawatts of geothermal energy.


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