- Two new state-of-the-art plants with a total capacity of 65 MW are nearing completion. They will generate enough power to meet the energy needs of some 40,000 American households.
- Originating in Tuscany more than 100 years ago, the technology for generating geothermal power is an Italian primacy that Enel is exporting throughout the world.
Rome, 15 December 2008 - Two innovative geothermal plants are about to be completed by Enel North America in Churchill County, Nevada. The start of production for the Stillwater and Salt Wells plants will contribute to the states goal of achieving a level of 20% power generation from renewable sources by 2015. With a total gross installed capacity of 65 megawatts (MW), the two plants will generate some 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, enough to meet the energy needs of roughly 40,000 American households, while avoiding the emission of more than 300,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Backed by a century of experience in Italy, Enel today is a leading player in geothermal power in the United States, as well, with one plant that is already operational and a portfolio of projects that are in advanced stages of development for a power capacity of more than 150 MW in Nevada, California and Utah, said Francesco Starace, head of Enels new Renewable Energy division.
Enel is the world leader in this complex technology, which combines both geological and thermoelectric know-how. In short, the technology uses the natural heat of certain special geological features in order to transform high-temperature water into electricity, and is a renewable source of energy that minimizes emissions, including CO2, and works in consistent, predictable manner.
In Tuscany, Enel has 31 geothermal plants and a power output of roughly 700 MW, which is enough to generate 5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year. An agreement has recently been reached with the region concerning the sustainable development of this precious resource by increasing capacity and making significant investment in research.
Developed and refined in Italy, in the area of Larderello (Pisa), Italian-made geothermal technology is now being exported throughout the world, not only to the U.S.
In Chile, working with Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP), Enel is exploring a number of particularly suitable areas that show potential capacity in excess of 100 MW. In El Salvador, Enel constructed its first geothermal plant abroad, Berlin III, with a capacity of 44 MW and power generation of some 320 million kWh per year.
Enel is also investing in further developing the use of geothermal power. The companys Geotermia Innovativa (Innovative Geothermal) project seeks to make use of areas that are not yet exploitable and to supplement low-temperature geothermal sources with other renewable energies, and solar power in particular.