Geothermal pilot projects

Energy    Jan 10, 2022 4:38 PM

Colombia is advancing measures in its intention to develop geothermal energy as another link in its energy transition policy.

The country has three pilot projects to establish the scope and limits of this technology, Portafolio reported.

Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC) and Parex (TSX: PXT) are developing these projects.

The NOC is developing the Chichimene pilot, in Acacías (Meta). Its installed capacity is 2 megawatts (MW), and it will be able to generate 38,400 kilowatt hours per day (KWh/d), equivalent to the consumption of 659 homes.

Parex’s pilot project is in divided in two areas: La Rumba, in Aguazul, and Maracas, in San Luis de Palenque, both in Casanare.

The latter is the first pilot project being developed in the country, in association with the Universidad Nacional Medellín, and seeks to produce approximately 100KW of effective electric energy.

In this way, the system will be able to generate up to 72,000KW per month, equivalent to the energy consumed by 480 families per month.

The second pilot project (La Rumba), has an infrastructure with an installed capacity of 0.035MW, and a generation of 672KWh/d, which covers the current of 117 homes.

The intention with the three geothermal pilots, initially for industrial operation, is to leverage the high temperatures and volumes of water produced in the hydrocarbons extraction to generate electricity.

Parex’s Daniel Ferreiro explained that they have managed to develop the pilot Maracas, whose main goal is to evaluate the use of geothermal resources from oil fields in the Llanos Orientales for the co-production of hydrocarbons and energy.

The CEO highlighted that the project will seek to promote new research, development and implementation initiatives in the region.

Bottom-Line: Geothermal generation could generate long-term economic savings, as it is low-maintenance, environmentally friendly, and safe. However, this alternative represents an important investment in infrastructure, and there are few experts on the subject in Colombia, increasing the risks. The country will have to “import” experts, at least at the beginning.

However, it is positive that the country is moving forward on this issue.

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