Geothermal energy plants in Colombia’s Nereidas Valley

U.S. Trade and Development Agency awarded a grant to Empresas Públicas de Medellín E.S.P. (Public Enterprises of Medellín, or EPM) to evaluate the technical, economic and financial feasibility of constructing one or more geothermal power plants in Colombia’s Nereidas Valley.

EPM is a multi-sector utility founded in 1955 that is owned entirely by the Municipality of Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia. It is the largest electric utility in Colombia and has subsidiaries that operate outside of its home department of Antioquia as well as internationally.

“We are pleased to partner with EPM to advance one of Colombia’s first geothermal power plants, and we hope that, over time, geothermal power will become a significant contributor to the country’s energy matrix,” said USTDA Regional Director Nathan Younge. “This activity builds upon USTDA’s support for projects that will benefit from Colombia’s new law on the integration of non-conventional renewable energy – including a hybrid wind and solar study, a demand side management pilot project and another geothermal activity.”

EPM has selected Dewhurst Group LLC (Germantown, MD) to carry out the feasibility study, which includes geologic conceptual modeling, site and infrastructure engineering, and the computation and estimation of economic performance. Dewhurst was first introduced to the project opportunity during EPM’s participation in a USTDA-sponsored geothermal reverse trade mission in 2011. The work performed by Dewhurst will provide EPM with the information necessary to perform resource confirmation drilling and make the required infrastructure upgrades to prepare for the procurement of a scalable electrical power plant.