08 Apr 2021

Ecuador’s First Geothermal Plant Targeted for 2026

08 Apr 2021  by Alexander Richter   

In the new Electricity Master Plan for Ecuador, geothermal energy has been set up of playing a part for the country’s ambitious expansion of the generation and transmission park by 2027.

Drilling rig on site at Chachimbiro, Ecuador (source: CELEC)

To achieve this, the country has a new dynamic of providing investors with legal and financial security, delivering long-term contracts that are win-win. This was stated by Enith Carrion, Undersecretary of Electricity Generation and Transmission of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources of Ecuador. “We have 884 renewable MW feasible in the short term on the continent and about 7 MW in the Galapagos Islands,” said the Undersecretary of Electricity Generation and Transmission of Ecuador.

And he highlighted: “The project that we hope will be the largest hydroelectric plant in the country, starts at 2,400 MW and could reach 3,600 MW.”

In the last year, the Government has promoted a series of calls for non-conventional renewable energy projects, such as the El Aromo photovoltaic (200 MW), the Villonaco II and III wind farm (110 MW) and the Conolophus park (14.8 MWp in photovoltaic and 40.9MWh in storage).

But that would not be all. Ecuador also included in its planning for 2027, two large Public Selection Processes (PPS) for NCRE Blocks that will incorporate 200 MW in a first round -convocation scheduled for June 2021- and then an additional 400 MW -whose entry into operation is estimated for 2023-.

There will also be launches of specific blocks for geothermal energy for 50 MW (with COD in 2026) and different bets for hydroelectric projects. We reported last from Ecuador on the continued development efforts at Chachimbiro and the plans for a 50 MW plant on that site in 2019. The project is being developed by state utility CELEC with support from Japan.

Given the progress of these new generation projects and to reinforce the reliability and operational safety of the national electricity system, the Government is already planning new lines of 500kV, 230kV, 138kV and 69kV.

“We are convinced that the generation cannot grow if it does not go hand in hand with the growth of transmission,” said Enith Carrion.

During the Wind and Solar Summit of Latam Future Energy, the reference of the Ministry of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources of Ecuador, shared the generation and transmission strategy that the Government is promoting.

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