Geotérmica del Norte, a joint venture between Enel Green Power and ENAP started to build a third generation unit of 33 MW at the geothermal power plant Cerro Pabellón. The construction of the new unit will involve an investment of around 100 million US dollars and is expected to start operations in the second half of 2020.
The new facility, combined with the 48 MW of the two already operating units, will bring Cerro Pabellón’s total capacity to 81 MW. Once the third unit is fully operational, the overall geothermal plant will be able to generate 600 GWh per year, avoiding the emission of around 468,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
“We are leveraging on our expertise in geothermal energy, as well as on the technical characteristics of Cerro Pabellón’s existing units and its transmission line, to extend the plant’s capacity and further harness the potential of Chile’s geothermal sources. The construction of this new unit confirms our role as a pioneer in geothermal energy and our commitment to continue investing in its development, given the important role it can play in diversifying and increasing the sustainability of Chile’s generation mix..”
– Guido Cappetti, general manager of Geotérmica del Norte
The new unit will employ high-enthalpy binary cycle technology as used in the already operating units. During the construction phase of the new facility, up to 700 people will be employed and local businesses will be hired to deliver various services, such as transportation, food supply and laundry, contributing to the economic and social development of the communities surrounding the project.
Located on the high plateau of the Atacama Desert in the Antofagasta Region, Cerro Pabellón is the only geothermal plant in South America and the highest of its kind in the world, located at 4,500 meters above sea level.
The Enel Group is Chile’s largest power company by installed capacity with around 7,500 MW, out of which 4,700 MW of renewables, composed of more than 3,500 MW of hydro, over 600 MW of wind, around 500 MW of solar and approx. 40 MW of geothermal. The Group also operates in the distribution sector through Enel Distribución Chile, which serves around 1.9 million customers, and in the advanced energy solutions business through Enel X Chile.