Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Like Costa Rica, El Salvador lies on the Central American volcanic belt and there is thus a plentiful geothermal resource. The main emphasis has been on using the resource for power generation and although a potential exists for the direct use of geothermal (drying grains and fruit), it has not yet been developed.
Geothermal energy accounts for over 20% of El Salvador's electricity output. In 2005, power generation from the Ahuachapán and Berlín geothermal facilities was 985 GWh.
Of the 151 MWe of geothermal capacity currently installed in El Salvador (95 MWe at Ahuachapán, and 56 MWe at Berlín), only about 124 MWe is reported to be actually available (72 MWe at Ahuachapán and 52 MWe at Berlín).
Both the Ahuachapán and Berlín plants are due for expansion. The optimisation of the Ahuachapán plant is under way with 17 MWe successfully completed by end-January 2007. Work continues on the drilling of a new production well and the necessary analysis is being undertaken for a more efficient use of the additional steam. At the beginning of 2007 it was reported that a 40 MWe third condensing unit at the Berlín plant was in a reliability testing phase and initiation of commercial operation was expected in February 2007. A 5.5 MWe binary unit was expected to come on-line in March 2007.
Research is under way on the exploration of the San Vicente and Chinameca fields.
If all plans come to fruition, geothermal capacity could total in excess of 210 MWe by 2010.