El Salvador seeks to expand geothermal power generation

Daniel lvarez, president of the Executive Hydroelectric Commission of the Lempa River (CEL), stated yesterday during his participation in the ninth Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean (Geolac) that El Salvador is one of the region’s leaders in geothermal energy knowledge and application.

Geothermal countries from the region, authorities from the World Bank (WB) and the International Geothermal Association (IGA) participated in said congress, held in Mexico City.

«Our geothermal energy represents 25% of the energy consumed by El Salvador. We have great potential for geothermal energy and not only because of the resource, but also because of the talent and knowledge of the people who work at LAGEO», explained Álvarez.

According to the minister, the country’s installed geothermal power generation capacity is 204 MW with two plants, one located in Ahuachapán and the other in Berlin, Usulutan.

In this regard, the official revealed that the country has launched an ambitious geothermal expansion plan, which in a first phase includes the construction of two geothermal fields, one in San Vicente and the other in Chinameca, which together will add 35 MW to the energy matrix of the country.

However, he assured that the aspiration is to add 95 MW, since recent studies revealed that this is the country’s potential.

This strategic commitment, according to Daniel Álvarez, is carried out through a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model in the new fields, as they seek to encourage private investment.

«We have a high commitment to promoting renewable energies in El Salvador, where we generate not only through geothermal energy but also wind, photovoltaic, and hydroelectric power,» he added.

Furthermore, the highest authority at CEL stated that El Salvador has extensive geothermal knowledge and that LAGEO has held several diploma courses for Latin America with over 300 local and foreign participants.

«Several countries have sought us out so that we can train them on different topics related to geothermal energy,» he said.

In this regard, he stated that the country will launch a study center specializing in geothermal issues that will aim to establish itself as a pioneer in the teaching of geothermal sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean.