Tags Posts tagged with "geothermal"


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The consortium formed by Sacyr Industrial and Ormat has been awarded the construction of a geothermal plant in Potosí (Bolivia). The project, tendered by Bolivian power company Ende Corporación, includes detailed engineering, the supply of equipment and materials, the civil construction, assembly and start-up.

The Laguna Colorada plant is a pioneering project in South America and will become the geothermal plant located at the highest altitude in the world (4,980 meters above sea level), with the inherent challenges.

The contract amounts to 18 million dollars (16 million euros) and will be executed over 24 months.

Pilot plant

The Laguna Colorada pilot plant aims to assess the geothermal reserves of the area, located in the south of the country. This project is prior to the construction of a 100 MW generation plant in the same geothermal field, which will provide electricity to local communities that currently do not have it.

Electricity generation through geothermal energy is a strategic project for Bolivia as part of its plan to supply electricity to undersupplied rural areas, as well as to become a net energy exporter.

Technological project

The project consists of a pilot binary cycle geothermal plant, which uses 132,000 kg/h of geothermal fluid at 170°C to generate 5.6 MW of electrical energy, to later return it to the geothermal reservoir by means of reinjection into a well located at 1.5 km from the plant.

The electrical energy generated will be evacuated to the Bolivian National Interconnected System at a voltage of 230 kV.

Source: Sacyr

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As the cost of clean technology continues to fall, the world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, at an investment level 23% lower than the previous year, according to new research published by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2017” finds that wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, small hydro and marine sources added 138.5 GW to global power capacity in 2016, up 8% from the 127.5 GW added the year before. The added generating capacity roughly equals that of the world’s 16 largest existing power-producing facilities combined.

Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation; the corresponding new capacity from renewables was equivalent to 55% of all new power, the highest to date. The proportion of electricity coming from renewables, excluding large hydro, rose from 10.3% to 11.3%. This prevented the emission of an estimated 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.


The total investment was US$241.6bn (excluding large hydro), the lowest since 2013. This was largely a result of falling costs: the average dollar capital expenditure per megawatt for solar PV, onshore wind and offshore wind dropped by over 10%, improving the competitiveness of those technologies. While much of the drop in financing was due to reduced technology costs, the report documented a slowdown in China, Japan and some emerging markets during the course of the year, for a variety of reasons.

New investment in solar in 2016 totalled US$113.7bn, down 34% from the all-time high in 2015, mainly due to sharp cost reductions – and to real slowdowns in activity in two of the largest markets, China and Japan. India saw the construction of the Ramanathapuram solar complex in Tamil Nadu, billed as the world’s largest ever PV project at some 648 MW.

Wind followed closely behind solar, at US$112.5bn of investment globally, down 9% despite the boom in offshore projects. However, while solar capacity additions rose in the year to a record 75 GW, sharply up from 56 GW, wind capacity additions fell back to 54 GW in 2016 from the previous year’s high of 63 GW.

The smaller sectors of renewable energy had mixed fortunes in terms of investment last year. Biofuels fell 37% to US$2.2bn, the lowest for at least 13 years; biomass and waste-to-energy held steady at US$6.8bn and small hydro at US$3.5bn; while geothermal rallied 17% to US$2.7bn and marine edged down 7% to US$194m.

Investment by type of economy

Renewable energy investment in 2016 showed contrasting trends between regions, as well as between the leading countries. The relative shares of the main regions in global investment in 2016 were as follows: China accounted for 32% of all financing for renewable energy, excluding large hydro, and Europe 25%. The US represented another 19% and Asia-Oceania, excluding China and India, stood at 11%. India. Other Americas made up 4% with Brazil, the Middle East and Africa each at 3%.

Renewable energy investment in developing countries fell 30% to US$117bn, while in developed economies, investment dropped 14% to US$125bn.

The ‘big three’ developing economies of China, India and Brazil saw a combined 28% setback in dollar investment to US$94.7bn, but this disguises different trends in each. China was again the biggest location for dollar commitments, but its total of US$78.3bn was down 32% from 2015 and the lowest since 2013. This broke a 12-year sequence of rising year-on-year investment. China also invested US$4.1bn in offshore wind, its highest figure to date. India recorded US$9.7bn in 2016, equalling 2015 and its average since 2010. Brazil bumps along from year to year without much sign of an upwards trend, and in fact last year’s figure of US$6.8bn was down 4% and the second-lowest since 2006.

Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, South Africa and Morocco all saw falls of 60% or more, due to slower than expected growth in electricity demand and delays to auctions and financing. Jordan was one of the few new markets to buck the trend, with investment there rising 148% to US$1.2bn.

Among developed economies, the US saw commitments slip 10% to US$46.4bn, roughly in line with its average since 2011, although 10% down on the 2015 record, as developers took their time to build out projects to benefit from the five-year extension of the tax credit system.

Investment in Europe has stabilised in recent years after falling from peaks of above US$100bn per year during the German and Italian solar booms of 2010-11. In 2016, it totalled US$59.8bn, up 3% on the previous year, led by the UK (US$24bn) and Germany (US$13.2bn). Two of the main features were the financing of offshore wind projects and the new equity raised by Innogy as it floated on the Frankfurt stock market. Offshore wind (US$25.9bn) dominated Europe’s investment, up 53% thanks to mega-arrays such as the 1.2 GW Hornsea project in the North Sea, estimated to cost US$5.7bn.

The most hopeful sign in 2016 for the future greening of the global electricity system was a succession of winning bids for solar and wind in auctions around the world, at tariffs that would have seemed inconceivably low only a few years ago. The records set last year were US$29.10 per MWh for solar in Chile and US$30 per MWh for onshore wind in Morocco, but there were other eye-catchingly low outcomes to auctions from Dubai to India and from Zambia to Mexico and Peru.

Source: UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance

La Xarxa Espavilada d'Olot. Ganador Obra Construida 2017

The DHC network project in Olot town city arose from the need to reduce consumption in the construction sector and its associated emissions. This urban restructuring project, which goes by the name of Xarxa Espavilada, has resulted in the construction of the first DHC network that is exclusively powered by renewable energy – geothermal, PV and biomass, and as such represents a step forward in the transition towards a carbon neutral city. One crucial element of the project’s development was the joint work and collaboration on the initiative by public entities (the Olot Town Hall) and private companies (Gas Natural Fenosa-Wattia Innova joint venture), to find a solution offering significant social and environmental benefits, as highlighted by the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, during the project’s inauguration last 3 March. A few days later the project received the Catalonian Government’s 2017 Award for Energy Excellence.

Creating new energy generation and distribution points within the city forms part of the great transition towards low carbon cities. Centralised production and consumer proximity, adapting the sources to the context both as regards supply and demand, is very much a feature of the Olot project, where consumption (depending on times of day and amounts) has resulted in a balanced production from geothermals, PV and biomass; resulting in 93% of the primary energy consumed by the grid coming from renewable sources.


The placement of the plant inside an existing building, the former Sant Jaume hospital, supports the very important role played by building refurbishment in the energy transition.Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2017

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Geothermal power showed strong, sustained growth through 2016 according to a report, published last October by the US Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). Projects now under development when completed would increase international capacity outside the USA by 25% according to the GEA. The report finds that between March and September 2016, a total of 44 new geothermal power projects began development spanning 23 countries, adding 1,562.5 MW. This brings the total new geothermal power now actively under development worldwide to 2,277.5 MW with 72 new projects covering 23 countries.

The growth rate in that period exceeds annual development over the previous two years. If this rate is sustained, global geothermal power production could
grow from 13.8 GW today to over 23 GW in 2021.

According to the GEA, the projects under development represent an investment of around US$9bn. The report’s estimates only includes projects outside the USA and as such, offer a conservative estimate. Notably, 70 countries have identified geothermal power potential with 26 countries already producing power from their geothermal resources, a figure that would increase to 30 once the projects identified come online. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2017

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Geothermal has reached a critical point of momentum with lower risk: it’s not only a great complement for intermittent solar and wind, it’s just smart business. A recent publication by James Jackson Chief Business Development Officer at Thermal Energy Partners, points out the opportunities of this sector in the U.S.

Today, there are about 12 states producing electricity. With roughly 3,600 MW of geothermal power production coming from these 12 states, there is still another 30,000 MW of conventional resources yet to be tapped from developers. This is a huge opportunity for investors to deliver great returns, create more green jobs and generate “zero-emission” base-load electricity at a more competitive rate. Even though the conventional approach to geothermal development requires millions of “up-front” dollars of investment in exploration and test wells, there are now other ways to determine the suitability or longevity of heat resources at a lower cost and in a shorter timeframe.


Based on this approach, the number of states that can produce geothermal power has increased from 12 states to 42 states and can do so economically. This brings opportunity for new projects to many more places and to more types of customers than previously thought. Within a 42 state review, SMU’s Geothermal Research Laboratory has estimated 425,757 MW of additional geothermal power could be developed across the U.S. and Texas, for example, could produce 10% of that estimate. Texas’ first geothermal power (pilot) plant was operated in the early 90’s near Houston (by the Department of Energy and the University of Texas). Outcomes data from this pilot project is still being used today to measure the resources in this state.

Newer techniques (utilizing algorithms) to measure geothermal resources is being used to map other locations around the world to increase investor confidence. From the standpoint of a utility or a large energy user in an underserved market, this is great news. When the sun no longer shines or the wind stops blowing, grid operators rely on fossil fuel sources of power to supplement and balance the load in order to keep transmitting a constant electricity. Now, grid operators are looking more and more to geothermal as a strong renewable compliment to solar or wind. Utilities have found that geothermal possesses the attributes of a base-load resource and comes with zero carbon emissions.

Based on these advancements along with other oil & gas technology developments, the risk to capital investment is much lower now more than ever for geothermal projects. The U.S. and many other countries (with mapped geothermal resources) stand only to gain from these new developments to take advantage of this renewable resource that is not reliant on subsidies to be economical.

Source: Thermal Energy Partners

South America’s first geothermal power plant Cerro Pabellón, which was built by the Enel Group’s renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. (EGPC) and Chile’s state-owned hydrocarbons company Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP), has started delivering electricity to the Norte Grande Interconnected System (SING, or Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande) that serves northern Chile.

The 48 MW Cerro Pabellón is located in Ollagüe in the Antofagasta region, 4,500 m above sea level in the Atacama Desert, and is the world’s first high enthalpy, utility-scale geothermal plant to be built at such a high altitude. The facility is comprised of two units each with a gross installed capacity of 24 MW and is owned by Geotérmica del Norte S.A. (GDN), a joint venture controlled by EGPC (81.7%) and participated by ENAP (18.3%).

Once fully up and running, the plant will be able to produce about 340 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption needs of over 165,000 Chilean households, while avoiding the annual emission into the atmosphere of more than 166,000 tonnes of CO2.

Cerro Pabellón incorporates the most advanced geothermal technology, which makes it well suited to the extreme conditions of an area marked by strong temperature fluctuations and very high altitude. To generate energy, the plant extracts geothermal fluid from the reservoir found during the project’s exploration stage, and once that fluid has completed generating electricity, it is injected back into the reservoir, guaranteeing the resource’s long-term sustainability.

Source: Enel

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Exergy continues its growth in the Turkish market. The Italian company, market specialist in the design and manufacturing of Organic Rankine Cycle systems, known for its pioneering Radial Outflow Turbine technology, has signed a new contract with repeat customer Bestepeler Enerji Üretim Ticaret A.s for the supply of a 24 MWe geothermal ORC power plant for a geothermal field located in Aydin region – Germencik area.

Exergy will provide the client with a two pressure level ORC system equipped with 2x Radial Outflow Turbines, one for each pressure level, to produce totally 24 MWe of electricity from a medium enthalpy geothermal fluid. These large turbines continue to show the suitability of the Radial Outflow configuration in all sizes. The ORC cycle will employ an air cooled condensing system, thus avoiding the use of water.

Equipment for the ORC unit will be manufactured in the Exergy Turkish workshop in Izmir, allowing the client to take advantage of an increased feed-in-tariff that the Turkish Ministry assigns to Made in Turkey technologies. The factory, which has been open for 2 years, has already produced 20 turbines suitable for the increased feed-in-tariff. The signing of this new contract raises the EXERGY portfolio to 360 MWe, with 336 MWe representing geothermal applications.

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Turboden designed and manufactured a unique single turbine of 16 MW electrical power to be operated in a geothermal power plant in Velika Ciglena (Croatia) by Geoen – MB Holding. The Velika Ciglena project, which will start operating in 2017, will exploit steam and hot water at 170 °C to produce electricity to feed the local power grid.

The region of Velika Ciglena is situated in Bjelovar subdepression, the north east of Croatia. The reservoir was discovered in 1990 by INA-Naftaplin, during an underground exploration for oil. The oil was never found, instead, a promising potential for geothermal energy was discovered.

The ORC turbogenerator with a 5-stage axial turbine, designed and manufactured by Turboden, optimizes the performance with a rotation speed of 1,500 rpm, while guaranteeing minimal vibration values (around 1mm/second) and smooth operation. Thanks to the 5 axial stages of the turbine, the plant will grant a highly efficient behavior in all the environmental conditions as well as at different input levels.

The single pressure level cycle selected by Turboden is the optimum choice according to best match of heat exchange curves and simplest plant configuration. Thanks to this, it is possible to achieve 4% higher net power output with a saving of 8% capex, compared to the possible alternative solutions.

Velika Ciglena project, with the cutting-edge 16 MW ORC turbine, proves the technological reference of Turboden as main producer of large binary ORC plants, while the latest geothermal ORC plants delivered from Europe to Japan, confirm the success of Turboden with field proven performances and reliability.

European and Mexican researchers will work together on tapping into new sources of geothermal energy in the context of GEMex, an international project that was selected in a joint call launched by the European Union and Mexico. Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Mexican Secretary of Energy, announced the result in the margins of the Clean Energy Ministerial Meeting on 2 June in San Francisco.

Commissioner Moedas said: “Mexico’s vast geothermal resources provide a unique opportunity to apply and fine-tune production technologies that are being developed in Europe. It is an excellent example of how joint efforts work to the benefit of everyone involved. But this is just the start of a fruitful cooperation between the European Union and Mexico on renewable energy technologies.”

Secretary Coldwell said: “The cooperation on geothermal energy between Mexico and the European Commission represents a joint effort to advance and apply technological developments in geothermal technologies. Mexico is one of the leading countries on geothermal generation and the collaboration with European counterparts will spur further technological development and marks the first step on renewable energy technology cooperation between the European Commission and Mexico”.

The EU and Mexico contribute equally to the €20 million project. The EU’s share comes from Horizon 2020, its €77 billion research and innovation funding programme (2014 – 2020), and the other from Mexico’s Fondo de Sustenibilidad Energética (SENER) – Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).

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 three-year project will start in the autumn of 2016. It is an example of successful international cooperation under the Bilateral Agreement for Science and Technology Cooperation EU-Mexico. The coordinated call was launched by Secretary Coldwell and Commissioner Moedas during his visit to Mexico in November 2015.

Access to affordable and reliable renewable energy technologies is a global challenge countries need to tackle together in order to limit climate change impacts of the modern era to below 2°C, as was agreed last year by participants of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris. The EU contributes to global efforts by striving to decarbonise its economy by 2050. Considering that about 50% of the EU’s primary energy consumption is used to produce heat, finding ways to harness geothermal heat economically and safely is a key part of the transition to low-carbon energy.

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Stillwater is the world’s first power plant to combine medium enthalpy, binary cycle geothermal, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies at the same site.

By combining generation technologies of different profiles at one production site, energy availability is increased and energy intermittency reduced. Geothermal and solar (thermal and photovoltaic) are complementary, meaning that production from solar is higher during the sunniest and hottest days of the year, when the thermal efficiency of the geothermal plant is lower.

The increased delivery of power during peak hours also enables a more load-following production profile. At the same time, sharing existing infrastructure enables costs-savings and reduction of the plant’s environmental impact per unit of energy produced and delivered.

In addition, research findings between March and December 2015 confirm that the combination of a 2 MW solar thermal facility with a 33.1 MW geothermal plant increased overall output at Stillwater by 3.6% compared with production from geothermal only. These findings were bolstered by the results of a study of the integration of geothermal and solar thermal. This is the first time empirical data from a commercial hybrid plant validates a theoretical hybrid model.Sin-título-1

This work was performed under the framework of the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), under the oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office.

The Stillwater plant began operation in 2009 with the completion of the geothermal plant. Since then, the site has served as a hub of innovation for Enel Green Power (EGP).Sin-título-4

In 2012, the company added a 26.4 MW solar PV unit to the geothermal plant – at the time one of the largest PV systems of its kind in the United States. In 2015, the company developed a solar thermal system to operate in conjunction with the existing Stillwater geothermal power station. By combining three renewable sources at the same location for the first time, EGP was able to fully capitalise on already installed assets, creating a more efficient and productive overall plant.

SAJ Electric