South America opens its first geothermal plant

South America's first geothermal power plant and the world’s first large-scale facility of this kind to be built at 4,500 meters above sea level was officially opened on Tuesday, according to joint venture partners Enel and Chilean energy company ENAP.

The plant, Cerro Pabellon, located in Chile, is composed of two units with a gross installed capacity of 24 megawatts in each unit.

The first 24-megawatt unit started to deliver energy to the Norte Grande transmission system at the end of March, while the second unit will be fully operational in October.

Once fully operational, the plant will be able to produce around 340 gigawatt-hours per year, equivalent to the consumption needs of more than 165,000 Chilean households, while avoiding the annual emission of more than 166,000 tons of carbon to the atmosphere, Enel said.

The facility's construction required an investment of around $320 million.

The power plant is owned by Geotermica del Norte, a joint venture controlled by Enel’s Chilean renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power Chile with a 83.65 percent share and with ENAP's 16.35 percent participation.

By Zeynep Beyza Kilic


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