Saturday, January 12, 2013

El Salvador's geo-thermal energy development

The Worldwatch Institute has published an article touting El Salvador's leadership in expanding the use of geothermal energy to generate electricity:

El Salvador, known as the “land of volcanoes,” is the largest producer of geothermal electricity in the region with 204 MW of production. With approximately 24 percent of its total electricity production coming from geothermal resources, El Salvador is a world leader in the development of geothermal power. Moreover, the country received a US$2 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in May to establish a geothermal training center for Latin America and the Caribbean. As part of this initiative, the international training center will offer technical courses in geothermal energy development at la Universidad de El Salvador. 
Despite a destructive, decade-long civil war during the 1980s and two devastating earthquakes in 2001, El Salvador has managed to develop a successful geothermal energy sector. The country’s existing geothermal power plants provide the national grid with electricity that is cost competitive with hydroelectric and fossil fuel generation. El Salvador plans to grow this sector in the future and to achieve 40 percent of its total electricity from geothermal by 2020. The country’s geothermal developer, La Geo, plans to add to the two existing facilities in Ahuachapán and Berlín and is exploring facilities at three other geothermal fields.
Read more here.   The growing use of geothermal energy would seem to be very positive.   It is a clean, renewable energy source which El Salvador has in significant amounts.   Hydro-power, El Salvador's other non-fossil fuel source of electricity, has generated controversy and protests when dams are built which displace farmers from their land and alter the landscape.  

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