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Central American Countries are Looking for German Technological Know-How

ESSEN/GERMANY, June 03, 2013 - The hunger for energy is growing. In this respect, Cenral America’s governments in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama are focusing more and more on sustainable energy production: Not only solar energy, water power, wind energy and biomass but also geothermics in particular.

For this reason, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH ("German Society for International Cooperation") will stage an expert forum on the potentials of the utilization of geothermics in Central America on November 14 within the framework of the international GEO-T Expo fair for the geothermal industry.
In this case, representatives of state institutions and private companies from (amongst other countries) Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama will take a look at the economic and geological prerequisites in both high-enthalpy and low-enthalpy fields.
According to estimations, the total potential for the generation of electricity with geothermics in Central America is over 13,000 MW. Therefore, geothermal power stations could theoretically be used in order to supply the whole region with electricity. Until now, eight geothermal power stations are connected to the grid in Central America, feed in up to 625 MW and, in some countries, generate up to 25 % of the required electrical energy. Geothermics also appear to be highly interesting because, during their utilisation, the restrictions on the environment and the population turn out to be considerably smaller than in the case of some other renewable energy carriers, e.g. large water power installations.

The signs for the extension of the renewable energies in El Salvador continue to indicate growth. The government is creating improved outline conditions for renewable energies in order to call upon investors from the private economy as well and to reduce the dependence on fossil energy carriers even further. The electricity generation from geothermics in El Salvador began in 1975 with the 95 MW "Ahuachapan" power station. The "Berlin" power station was commissioned with 56.2 MW in 1992 and was extended by 44 MW in 2007 and by another 9.2 MW in 2009. Thus, the "Berlin" site has a generator capacity of 109.4 MW today.

Both the Ahuachapan and Berlin deposits are very productive high-enthalpy deposits. Further high-enthalpy potentials are currently being exploited in San Vicente and Chinameca. In the course of the last few decades, the former state firm called La Geo which was responsible for the development of geothermics in El Salvador has been able to acquire a great wealth of experience with the exploitation of high-temperature reserves and the operation of geothermal power stations, on both national and international levels. La Geo is actively supporting a regional training programme for geothermics which is being promoted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in El Salvador.

High Potentials for Technology Transfer

German technologies and companies to which wide ranging competence is attributed with regard to the erection of installations for energy production on a regenerative basis are being sought in particular.
For the further development/improvement of existing geothermal power stations in the high-enthalpy field and for the construction of new ones, there is a need for innovative prospecting technologies, new adequate drilling equipment, special material and equipment for geothermal installations (well sinking, corrosion-resistant pipes, measuring devices, heat exchangers, pumps, installation components, engineering in installation construction, turbines etc.).

Special consultancy services and technologies for the generation of process heat and process cold are being sought for the development of geothermal projects in the low-enthalpy field. International partners can profit from the many years of valuable experience of Salvadorian geothermal experts in the development and operation of geothermal power stations in the high-enthalpy field.
As the international fair for the geothermal industry in the number-one energy technology country, GEO-T Expo will take place in Germany for the first time on November 12 - 14, 2013.