The 48 MW geothermal facility, located 4,500 metres above sea level in Ollagüe in the Atacama Desert, has begun delivering electricity to the SING system in northern Chile
Cerro Pabellón is owned by joint venture GDN, which is 81.7% held by Enel Green Power Chile and 18.3% by ENAP
The plant is the first geothermal installation in the whole of South America and is the world’s first high-enthalpy, utility-scale geothermal plant to be built at such a high altitude
Rome and Santiago, March 31st, 2017 – South America’s first geothermal power plant Cerro Pabellón, which was built by the Enel Group’s renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power Chile Ltda. (“EGPC”) and Chile’s state-owned hydrocarbons company Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (“ENAP”), has started delivering electricity to the Norte Grande Interconnected System (SING, or Sistema Interconectado del Norte Grande) that serves northern Chile.
The 48 MW Cerro Pabellón is located in Ollagüe in the Antofagasta region, 4,500 metres above sea level in the Atacama Desert, and is the world’s first high enthalpy, utility-scale geothermal plant to be built at such a high altitude. The facility is comprised of two units each with a gross installed capacity of 24 MW and is owned by Geotérmica del Norte S.A. (“GDN”), a joint venture controlled by EGPC (81.7%) and participated by ENAP (18.3%).
“Cerro Pabellón beginning to generate electricity is a major milestone for us in Chile,” said Guido Cappetti, General Manager of GDN. “Thanks to our unique geothermal expertise, we have been able to harness part of Chile’s huge geothermal potential, strengthening Enel and Enap’s commitment to help with the diversification of the Chilean generation mix through a new renewable energy resource.”
Once fully up and running, the plant will be able to produce about 340 GWh per year, equivalent to the consumption needs of over 165,000 Chilean households, while avoiding the annual emission into the atmosphere of more than 166,000 tonnes of CO2.
Cerro Pabellón incorporates the most advanced geothermal technology, which makes it well suited to the extreme conditions of an area marked by strong temperature fluctuations and very high altitude. To generate energy, the plant extracts geothermal fluid from the reservoir found during the project’s exploration stage, and once that fluid has completed generating electricity, it is injected back into the reservoir, guaranteeing the resource’s long-term sustainability.
Enel is a multinational power company and a leading integrated player in the global power, gas and renewables markets. It is the largest integrated utility in Europe in terms of market capitalisation and figures among Europe’s leading power companies in terms of installed capacity and reported EBITDA. The Group operates in over 30 countries worldwide, producing energy through approximately 85 GW of managed capacity. Enel distributes electricity and gas through a network of over 2 million kilometres, and with over 65 million business and household customers globally, the Group has the largest customer base among European competitors. Enel’s renewable energy division Enel Green Power already manages almost 38 GW of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower plants in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. In Chile, through EGPC, Enel currently operates a portfolio of renewable plants that have a combined installed capacity of over 1.1 GW, of which 564 MW come from wind power, 492 MW from PV solar and 92 MW from hydropower.
Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP) is the leading, vertically integrated, and fully owned company of the Chilean State active in the production, refining and commercialisation of hydrocarbons and their derivatives. In Chile, ENAP operates through three business lines: Exploration and Production (E&P), which is dedicated to the exploration and production of hydrocarbons; Refining and Marketing (R&C), which operates the Aconcagua, Bío Bío, and Gregorio refineries where crude oil is processed and converted into fuel, and Gas and Energy (G & E), which is in charge of developing the business of electric generation with gas and other non-conventional renewable sources. The company also operates abroad through its subsidiaries ENAP Sipetrol and Enap Sipec in the production of oil and gas in Argentina, Ecuador and Egypt.
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