Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Iceland comes to El Salvador

A small article in the IcelandReview showed up in my searches for stories about El Salvador in the world's press. The article describes the start up of a small geothermal electricity plant in the area near Berlin, El Salvador:

The first Icelandic geothermal power plant to be built on foreign ground has launched operations in the geothermal area of Berlin in El Salvador, as announced by Icelandic geothermal energy company Enex on Saturday.

“This is a significant milestone for Icelandic geothermal knowledge,” managing director of Enex Thór Gíslason said in a statement, adding:

“Progressive operations on geothermal power plants in Iceland for the past ten years along with the development of new and improved technology have created a strong basis for exporting knowledge that is sought-after in many foreign countries.”

Once fully operational, the power plant will produces 9.3 MW of electricity. It is operated in partnership with local energy company LaGeo. The agreement between LaGeo and Enex is worth USD 13 million (EUR 10 million).

Geothermal energy, which uses the heat from underground volcanic sources to power electrical turbines, provides a significant amount of electricity for El Salvador. A paper from the 2000 World Geothermal Congress describes the location of El Salvador's geothermal fields and notes that this power source provided as much as 41% of the country's electricity in 1981.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim,
Can you or anyone reading this shed any light on cost per kilowatt compared to other type power plants? Could more of these mean lower electricity rates in the future? It would seem that Central America would have an abundance of geothermal energy available. That would be some good news for the region long term not to mention the ecological impact of it. Wally

George Fulmore said...

Salvadorean electrical power sources info from an Internet site:

Electric power production is controlled by the government's autonomous agency, the Executive Hydroelectric Commission of Río Lempa (CEL), created in 1945 to plan and develop the country's electric power facilities...., hydroelectric sources supplied 35.5%; fossil fuels contributed 42.3%; and the remainder was supplied by geothermal resources that tap volcanically produced underground steam for power. In that year about 800 million kWh of electricity from geothermal sources was produced in El Salvador, which is the largest consumer of geothermal energy in Central America. CEL's first geothermal facility, the 95 MW geothermal plant at Ahuachapán, was opened at the end of 1975 at a cost of $25 million. The country's other major geothermal plant is the Berlin plant in the province of Usulutan. In 2000 consumption of electricity was 4.1 billion kWh.

Anonymous said...

A young engineer who worked for this Icelandic company was murdered a few years ago. I don't know if the PNC ever found the killers. (Mark). The following is from Iceland Review:
"An Icelandic engineer, Jón Þór Ólafsson, 37, was found shot to death in El Salvador on Sunday, reports Morgunbladid.

According to Morgunbladid, Jón Thór's colleagues notified the police on Sunday that Jón Thór was missing. There was speculation that he had been kidnapped but according to a colleague of Jón Thór's kidnapping of foreigners is very rare in San Salvador.

Events leading to the murder are unknown but the police in El Salvador are investigating the case in collaboration with the International Department of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.

For the last six months, Jón Thór had worked in El Salvador as an engineer constructing a geothermal electrical power plant for the Icelandic company Enex. Since the spring of 2005, there have been on average 2 - 3 Icelanders working for Enex in El Salvador."