The government of El Salvador has set itself the objective of feeding 99% of the energy matrix with renewable sources, the president of the Executive Commission of the Lempa River (CEL), Daniel Álvarez, stated in a television interview.
“All renewables make up about 80% of our matrix. Solar, wind, and geothermal projects have been encouraged that lead us to have 99% of our electrical matrix from renewable sources,” added the head of CEL.
According to the official, currently renewables, supported by geothermal and hydroelectric, provide clean energy for 2 million Salvadoran homes. «50% of the matrix is generated by CEL and LaGeo. We want to generate more at a stable price by developing the geothermal fields that were already owned by the State”, he detailed.
In this sense, Daniel Álvarez referred to the construction of two new geothermal power plants that will be located in Chinameca and San Vicente, which together are expected to inject an extra 5% of electrical energy into the general grid.
The government already manages two of these sources, one in Ahuachapán, which generates 96 megawatts, and another in Berlin, which produces 109 megawatts. In this way and with the injection of 30 megawatts more than the two new plants, geothermal production is expected to represent 30% of the country’s energy matrix.
“The Chinameca and San Vicente fields were already owned by LaGeo and only the amount of steam was certified. The objective (with the two new geothermal plants) is to encourage public investment, lower energy prices, and protect state resources,” said Daniel Álvarez.
One of the objectives of this bet, according to Álvarez, is to stabilize energy prices that are affected by international fuel prices that, according to his words, present “abrupt changes” in their prices because they depend on international factors beyond the reach of the government.
“We have a volatile energy price because renewables were not used. The president Nayib Bukele has given us the task of exploiting renewable energies and transitioning to a transformation of clean energy, additionally with a stable price,” continued the CEL spokesperson.
Regarding state capacities in the energy field, Álvarez said that “the state has great strength to be able to stabilize energy prices through geothermal and hydroelectric power, which is the largest installed power. Last year, with the economic measures implemented by President Bukele, the price of energy was so stable that it could be exported,” he pointed out.
In addition, the official mentioned other renewable energy projects, such as the Ventus wind farm in Metapán (private in nature), to which a state project of similar characteristics will be added and that will be located in the same area. “We have almost 80 megawatts of state-produced wind energy on our doorstep; we are looking at the way to develop the project,” he said.
He also cited the Acelhuate River biogas plant, which is in the financing and bidding stage.
On the other hand, he added that the Talnique Solar Plant and another photovoltaic project that will be located in the 15 de Septiembre Hydroelectric Power Plant are being built, of which “the first stone will soon be laid.” Both projects are in the hands of Inversiones Energéticas (INE), a subsidiary of CEL.
Finally, it added the 3 de Febrero Hydroelectric Power Plant, which has already injected electricity into the national grid and is expected to start 100% operations in 2023. “We are walking towards decarbonization and being able to reach a 99% electrical matrix.” , closed the official.