The first concession is named "Colorado", with 16,800 hectares in the region of Antofagasta, 1,000 km north of Santiago. The second concession is known as "San José I", which covers 74,801 hectares located in the metropolitan area about 50 km east of Santiago, whereas the third one is called "Yeguas Muertas ", with 74,101 hectares situated between the Metropolitan and the O’Higgins regions, 70 km southeast of Santiago, 20 km east of El Teniente mine and 40 Km from Rancagua.
With these three new concessions, Enel Green Power confirms its leading position in geothermal development in the Chilean market. In fact, Geotermica del Norte (GDN), a subsidiary of Enel Green Power, is about to begin the construction of the first geothermal plant in South America. It is a 40 MW facility named Cerro Pabellón located in the region of Antofagasta. Together with its other subsidiary Empresa Nacional de Geotermia (ENG), Enel Green Power now holds 8 geothermal concessions in Chile.
Enel Green Power already has a geothermal installed capacity of about 775 MW between Italy and North America, and is developing further geothermal projects in Italy, US, Turkey and Central America.
“Enel Green Power is the pioneering company in geothermal exploration in Chile, with the drilling of wells at more than 4,500 meters of altitude, in extreme climatic conditions, that have confirmed the presence of a very good geothermal flux – commented Francesco Starace, Enel Green Power CEO. “Thanks to more than 100 years of experience in the sector, EGP has the ability and know-how to sustain the challenge of being the first to generate electricity with this technology in Chile, where an estimated over 3,300 MW geothermal potential exists.”
Installed geothermal power in the world is approximately 11 GW and it is estimated that it will reach 42 GW by 2035, at an average growth rate of over 5.1% (source: IEA, WEO 2010).
Technical characteristics of the three concessions
Colorado is characterized by a flat topography with medium to high peaks. Geothermal manifestations include volcanic vents, sulfur deposits and abundant hot springs. The area is crowned by “Lastarria”, an active volcano with numerous fumaroles. The area is considered as very promising for geothermal development.
San José I includes a number of geothermal hot springs which vary in temperature from 25º to 60º C. The “Planta-Marmolejo-San José” group of active volcanoes is located approximately 30 km to the east of the concession area. The project is within the hydro development area represented by the Maipo and Yeso Rivers and it is close to the Santiago distribution market.
Yeguas Muertas is an area with particular geothermal potential located about 30 km to the west of a volcanic caldera and the active Diamante Maipo volcano. In the area, there are at least four groups of springs which vary in temperature from 25º to 45 º C. The Yeguas Muertas concession has a privileged position between one of the world’s largest copper mines, El Teniente, in the Sixth Region, and the city of Santiago, located 100 km away.