Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ormat taps Volcano to Generate Electricity (ORA)

Guess who's writing off their subscription to "Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research"?
[this will end as badly as the time you tried to write off the "Journal of Leisure Research" -ed]
From Reuters:
...Guatemala, Central America's biggest country, aims to produces 60 percent of its energy from geothermal and hydroelectric power by 2022.

The government is offering tax breaks on equipment to set up geothermal plants and electricity regulators are requiring distributors buy greater proportions of clean energy.
Some 1,640 feet below the summit of Guatemala's active Pacaya volcano, which exploded in May, pipes carrying steam and water at 347 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) snake across the mountainside to one of two geothermal plants currently operating in the country.

Run by Israeli-owned Ormat Technologies Inc, the plant harnesses energy from water heated by chambers filled with molten rock deep beneath the ground.

The company has been operating two plants in Guatemala for three years and wants to expand but is weighing the risks of drilling more costly exploratory wells.

"There's a phase where you just have to drill and see," Ormat's representative in Guatemala, Yossi Shilon, told Reuters. "The problem is that you risk a very expensive investment and are not always satisfied with the results."

Ormat's project is only a 20 MW station but Guatemala says the country has the potential to produce up to 1000 MW of geothermal energy, a third of projected energy needs in 2022.

Other Central American countries are already forging ahead in this emerging technology.
More than a fifth of El Salvador's energy needs come from two geothermal plants with installed capacity of 160 MW and investigations are being carried out to build a third....MORE