Survey of Energy Resources Interim Update 2009
SER 2007 version >Geothermal Country Notes update
During 2007 units 3 and 4 were brought into commercial operation at El Salvador's Berlín plant, bringing the country's total geothermal capacity to 204.4 MWe. The Ahuachapán plant consists of 2 x 30 MWe and 1 x 35 MWe units, whilst the Berlín plant now has 2 x 28.12 MWe, 1 x 44 MWe and 1 x 9.2 MWe. SIGET (Superintendencia General de Electricidad y Telecomunicaciones) reports that actual capacity available was 70 MWe at Ahuachapán and 103.8 MWe at Berlín. However, at end-June 2008 available capacity had increased by 10 MWe at Ahuachapán.
Net electricity generation during 2007 increased 21% to 1 293 GWh and whilst power output at Ahuachapán decreased by just over 3%, that at Berlín increased by 56%. Geothermal energy provides nearly 25% of El Salvador's total generation.
LaGeo, owner of the two existing geothermal plants, plans to increase generation. It was reported in 2007 that its subsidiary San Vicente 7 was exploring its concession areas of San Vicente and Chinameca. However, based on initial drilling results, the prospect for power generation in the former area was not high.
During 2008, the planned 1.5 MWe Phase II of the HDR project sited at Soultz-sous-Forêts became operational. A period of testing of this pilot plant is being undertaken prior to the installation of a 6 MWe power plant.
During 2007, a 20 MWe binary plant was commissioned at Amatitlán, adding to the existing 5 MWe back-pressure unit and bringing the country's total installed power to 53 MWe. Together with output from the Zunil 1 plant (28 MWe), total electricity generated amounted to 263.07 GWh (from a running capacity of 49 MWe), a rise of 61% over 2006.
On 12 December 2008 the Executive Board of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) approved and officially registered the Amatitlán plant under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Guatemala has many geothermal areas which have either undergone, or are undergoing, study and evaluation: since 1992 five areas have been in reserve (Zunil, Amatitlán, Tecuamburro, San Marcos and Moyuta) with, according to the Instituto Nacional de Electrificación (INDE), an estimated capacity of 430 MWe. Preliminary studies have been conducted on a further six areas (Atitlán, Los Achiotes, Retana, Motagua, Ayarza, Palencia), which have been found to have favourable conditions. The Totonicapan and the Ixtepeque-Ipala areas have not progressed further than preliminary studies.
Direct use of geothermal heat is limited but the 1.6 MWt Bloteca plant is used in the process of curing concrete construction blocks and in another instance Agro-Industrias La Laguna uses a 0.5 MWt unit to dehydrate fruit.
Iceland's geothermal capacity for electricity generation has increased dramatically in recent years. Following an increase of 190 MWe in 2006 and 63 MWe in 2007, a further 90 MWe was added during 2008, bringing the total to 575 MWe, about 2.5 times the end-2005 capacity. There were commensurate rises in electricity output with a 58% increase in 2006 (to 2 631 GWh) and 36% in 2007 (to 3 579 GWh).
HS Orka hf, owner and operator of Svartsengi, brought the sixth phase of the plant into use in December 2007, adding 30 MWe to the existing capacity of 46 MWe.
Reykjavik Energy, the utility provider for the Reykjavik metropolitan area, brought a 33 MWe low-pressure turbine into use at its Hellisheidi plant in 2007 and added an additional 90 MWe in 2008. In early 2009, total capacity stood at 213 MWe.
The policy of the Iceland Government is to expand the use of renewable energy to an even greater extent. With respect to utilising the country's geothermal resource, Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) representing 395 MWe capacity have been carried out at the Bjarnaflag field, in the Hengill area and at Reykjanes; EIAs which envisage 300 MWe have been started on the Krafla and Theistareykir fields and some 2 000 MWe additional capacity is thought to be feasible.
Direct use of geothermal power has not grown to the same extent as electricity generation but it remains of major importance, especially in the residential sector. It is estimated that during 2007, direct use amounted to 26 PJ, of which 19 PJ was for space heating.
The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) began in 2000. The main purpose of the IDDP is to find out if it is economically feasible to extract energy and chemicals out of hydrothermal systems at supercritical conditions. Drilling will occur below areas that have already been exploited down to 4-5 km, with boreholes at Krafla, Nesjavellir and Reykjanes. Following a feasibility study undertaken by Deep Vision (a consortium of Sudurnes Regional Heating, the National Power Company, Reykjavik Energy and the National Energy Authority, representing the Government), the project became operational during 2003 and international partners sought. Drilling of the first well, IDDP-1, began at Krafla in early 2008 (down to 800 m) and continued in March 2009. The programme is expected to continue until 2020.
Iceland's economy has been seriously impacted by the current global economic situation which has slowed the pace of geothermal development. Reykjavik Energy has revised its drilling plan for the Hellisheidi field and although the company will continue with the project, it will be delayed.
Having become a net oil importer early in the 21st century, Indonesia took the view that it was essential to harness the enormous geothermal resource at its disposal. The Government's National Energy Management Blueprint 2005-2025, contained a target of 9 500 MWe geothermal capacity by 2025. The national geothermal potential has been estimated at some 27 GWe but at the present time only a tiny fraction of this has been realised.
In recent years the Indonesian Government has passed a raft of laws and regulations in order to better regulate both the upstream and downstream side of the sector and to better utilise its geothermal power. Additionally, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, at the request of the Government, was engaged to formulate a Master Plan Study for Geothermal Power Development. A period of 18 months in 2006/2007 was used to assess the fields and formulate a development plan.
By end-2007, a total of 992 MWe geothermal capacity was installed, the majority of which was based on the island of Jawa-Bali. A further 80 MWe was under construction and 110 MWe was under preparation prior to construction. It has been forecast that by 2010 capacity will have reached 1 192 MWe.
There was no change in Kenya's total installed geothermal capacity between end-2005 and end-2007, despite the country's huge potential. Generally, development of the geothermal resource has been impeded by financial constraints. However, in mid-2008 the Government launched Kenya Vision 2030 and its first Medium Term Plan 2008-2012. The programme aims to transform all aspects of the Kenyan economy. Reforms in the energy sector will include for example, building a strong regulatory framework, encouraging more independent power producers and separating generation from distribution, and it is expected that the exploitation of the geothermal resource will progress. Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is planning to add 1 260 MWe of geothermal generating capacity by 2018.
During June 2007, drilling of the first of six directional wells in the Olkaria Domes area commenced. The project, following well appraisal, is expected to result in the Olkaria IV plant being constructed.
In December 2008, the Phase II expansion of the privately-owned Olkaria III was completed. A 35 MWe unit was connected to the grid, with the electricity sold to the Kenya Power & Lighting Company under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.
In order to utilise excess steam from Olkaria I and II fields, a 3rd 35 MWe unit is being installed at the Olkaria II plant, with completion due in May 2010.
Contained in the document New Zealand Energy Strategy to 2050 (published October 2007) is a governmental target that 90% of electricity is to be generated from renewable sources by 2025. With the country's rich geothermal resource, it has been estimated that there could be about an additional 1 000 MWe capacity that is commercially viable.
A 2002 assessment of the high-temperature resource suggests that the total resource is estimated as equivalent to a median value of 3 600 MWe of electrical generation, based on current technology.
Installed geothermal capacity was increased during 2007 by the addition of the third unit at Mokai, a 17 MWe binary plant extension. Furthermore, the Ohaaki plant, originally commissioned in 1989, has had a series of deratings and decommissioning of high-pressure turbines over the years but a 10 MWe unit installed in 2007 now maintains the level of production at 60 MWe. By year-end, national capacity had reached a nominal 461 MWe, but actual running capacity was less.
During 2008 plants in the Kawerau and Ngawha geothermal fields were either brought on line or expanded: the 100 MWe Kawerau station was officially opened in November and is the largest single condensing geothermal turbine in New Zealand's history; an 8.3 MWe binary unit was installed to utilise production from the KA24 well, and the 15 MWe Ngawha power station came on line during October.
Nga Awa Purua, a new 132 MWe plant currently being constructed in the Rotokawa field, is due for completion in 2010.
In September 2008, consent for the initial phase of a replacement for the 51 year-old Wairakei station was granted. It is expected that the 220 MWe first stage of the Te Mihi power plant will be commissioned by 2011 and, from 2016 onwards, will gradually replace Wairakei, which will cease operation in 2026.
There are a considerable number of other electricity generation projects under consideration, ranging from consented to those in the planning process.
Direct use of geothermal heat remains strong. Often tourist areas and commercial facilities are supplied by fluids and heat from areas associated primarily with generation. In the past year, the 100 MWt Tauhara Centennial Tenon Mill wood-drying facility became operational and a 50 MWt waste wood pellet-drying facility at Tauhara is in an advanced planning stage.
Despite the country's great geothermal potential, the past three years have seen a very limited amount of development. By end-2007, total installed capacity had only risen by 10 MWe - 2 x 5 MWe backpressure units had been installed at the San Jacinto-Tizate site. However, Polaris Geothermal Inc., the Canadian operator of San Jacinto-Tizate reports that it is on target to increase capacity to 72 MWe early in 2010.
Two of the ten identified areas of geothermal potential are currently being explored. GeoNico, a joint venture between the Italian company Enel and LaGeo of El Salvador, are exploring areas located in El Hoyo-Monte Galáan and Managua-Chiltepe.
Papua New Guinea
At end-2005 the 36 MWe Lihir Gold (LGL) geothermal plant supplied the mining company with 10% of its power needs. In early 2007 an additional 20 MWe unit was commissioned and by year-end 75% of the electrical requirement was being met. The original 6 MWe plant was relocated during 2007 to enable the mining area to be expanded.
During 2008 LGL approved a project to increase the annual processing capacity of its gold mining facility to approximately one million ounces per year, a rise of up to 240 000 ounces. The expansion is expected to be completed during 2011. Drilling is currently being undertaken to ascertain whether there are further reserves of geothermal steam that can be harnessed to supply the expanded facility with power.
Turkey continues to harness the huge low-medium enthalpy resource at its disposal. By end-2007, it was estimated that direct use installed capacity had risen to 1 385 MWt, of which 983 MWt was utilised for the heating of houses, thermal facilities and greenhouses and 402 MWt for balneological purposes.
Installed electricity generating capacity at end-2007 totalled 38 MWe but the new 47.4 MWe Aydin Germencik plant became operational in February 2009, with a forecast of March 2009 for it to be grid-connected.
The 9th Development Plan (2007-2013) contains 2013 targets for both electricity production and direct use. The former predicts 550 MWe, based on the potential from 13 fields and the latter, 8 000 MWt, of which 4 000 MWt would be for district heating, 1 100 MWt for balneology, 1 700 MWt for greenhouse heating, 300 MWt for cooling, 500 MWt for drying and 400 MWt for fish farming and other applications.
United States of America
The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) reports that in August 2008, U.S. geothermal power capacity on line totalled 2 958 MWe, although a proportion of this capacity is on standby or at least less than nameplate capacity and net electrical power output is thus somewhat less.
Seven States (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah) harness their geothermal resource, but at the present time it is California that has the majority share at 86% (2 555 MWe). Nevada follows with 318 MWe or 11% and at the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico has just 0.24 MWe in a first-stage pilot project and Alaska's Hot Springs Resort has a capacity of 0.4 MWe. The States of Oregon and Wyoming are presently working on bringing geothermally-produced electricity on line.
The GEA has identified 97 projects in 13 States, totalling some 3 960 MWe, at different stages of development - from site selection and exploratory drilling to the facility being under construction. A further 10 unconfirmed projects could bring the total to 3 980 MWe. At present the development plan for Nevada is larger than that for California. Whereas ultimately 1 million Californian homes could be supplied with electricity, in Nevada the eventual total could be 2 million.
A number of factors will help to ensure that the potential of the U.S. geothermal resource is realised in the coming years.
In December 2008 the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published the Record of Decision and Approved Management Plans Amendments for geothermal leasing in the western U.S. The Record of Decision amends 114 BLM resource management plans and allocates about 111 million acres of public lands and a further 79 million acres of National Forest System lands as open for leasing. The amended plan foresees 5 500 MWe of new generation in the 12 western states by 2015 and estimates a further 6 600 MWe by 2025.
Both the Federal Government and many State Governments have instituted renewable portfolio standards in which suppliers of electricity are required to purchase 25% of their power supply from renewable energy. This policy will help the development of geothermal in those states well-endowed with the resource.
In February 2009, the new federal administration legislated the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009. This measure not only includes US$ 16.8 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) but specifically US$ 400 million for the Geothermal Technologies Program.
Direct use of geothermal heat is of very great importance in the U.S. and the International Energy Agency (IEA) Implementing Agreement for Cooperation in Geothermal Research & Technology (GIA) estimates that installed capacity in 2007 is about 10 897 MWt.
In February 2008, work on the first example in the U.S. of an enhanced geothermal system (EGS) applied to an existing geothermal site began at the Desert Peak plant in Nevada. If after testing and evaluation, the process is found to be successful, the output could be boosted from the current 11 MWe to 50 MWe. Later in the year it was announced that the second EGS application would take place at the Brady plant, also in Nevada.
A 2007 assessment of EGS undertaken by MIT concluded that the technology could provide at least 10% of the country's future electricity power needs (100 000 MWe) in the next 50 years. The EERE has devised a Draft Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan, 2009-2015 with program activities to 2025. In partnership with the geothermal sector, it plans to demonstrate by 2015 that EGS is technically feasible.