Archivos de la categoría ‘Energía Geotérmica’

Geothermal Power Continues Strong Growth, New Industry Report Shows


A new report by the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) shows strong growth in new geothermal power projects continuing into 2009. “There has been a 25% increase in new geothermal projects from August of 2008, when the last GEA report was released. There is also an increase in overall production potential by 35%,” notes Kara Slack, the report’s author.

FUENTE – RenewableEnergyWorld – 04/03/09

“It is great to see that between August 2008 and March 2009, there was a jump of about 1,500 MW in new geothermal projects,” remarks Kara Slack, the report’s author. “Interest in geothermal development continues to grow. We are seeing new entrants to the industry, in part because of new leasing by BLM and several new projects by the U.S. Navy.”

The report also notes that the number of states producing geothermal power has increased from 7 to 8 with the addition of Wyoming.  “Geothermal power projects continue to move forward, with new projects being added at an increasing rate,” according to Karl Gawell, Executive Director of GEA. 

The report identifies a total of 126 projects under development with the potential to put 5,500 MW of new geothermal power on line, equivalent to 15,000 MW – 20,000 MW from wind turbines or enough power for 5.5 million California homes, according to GEA.   New geothermal power projects were identified in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. 

“It is great to see that between August 2008 and March 2009, there was a jump of about 1,500 MW in new geothermal projects,” remarks Slack.  “Interest in geothermal development continues to grow.  We are seeing new entrants to the industry, in part because of new leasing by BLM and several new projects by the U.S. Navy,” she adds.

According to the GEA report, Nevada, with 58 confirmed projects, has the most production under development. California is second with 27 projects, followed by Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Alaska, respectively.  

“The report shows a substantial movement of projects into the later stages of development, the permitting and construction phases,” Gawell points out.  “If federal and state governments give them the support and priority they need, most of these projects could be on line in a few years.” GEA estimates that bringing these projects on line could help economic recovery, spurring as many as 100,000 new jobs. 

GEA will have copies of the report available at their booth (#1412) at the Renewable Energy World (REW) Conference and Expo, March 10–12, in Las Vegas.  In addition, Karl Gawell will be making a presentation on the report as part of the REW Panel Discussion, U.S. Geothermal Market, March 11, 1:30–3:30pm, Tropical D.   Copies of U.S. Geothermal Power Production and Development Update, March 2009 are available to download free of charge from the GEA Web site at:

Geothermal Energy: Intelligent Use Of The Earth’s Heat


Geothermal energy falls under the category of renewable energy source because the water is replenished by rainfall and the heat is continuously produced inside the earth. Geothermal energy is derived from heat within the earth. People can use the steam and hot water created inside the earth to heat buildings or produce electricity. Wondering what makes the water so hot? Geothermal energy is produced in the earth’s core.


FUENTE – Alternative Energy – 04/03/09

People utilize geothermal energy to heat their homes and to produce electricity. This is achieved by digging deep wells and pumping the heated underground water or steam to the surface. But we can also use the stable temperatures near the surface of the earth to heat and cool buildings.

Dr. Ernst Huenges is the head of Geothermal Research at the institute GFZ – German Research Centre for Geosciences. He is of the opinion, “The new methods deliver important decision-support for the selection of sites for future geothermal projects. With this we can considerably reduce the risk of expensive misdrills,”

Geothermal energy is making its presence felt worldwide and Iceland is the best example of the utilization of geothermal power. In fact Iceland leads the world in the development of geothermal utilization. They have doubled their annual power supply capping it up around 500 MW as far as electricity supply is concerned. Germany is also emerging as a major user of geothermal energy. Germany is deriving its 100 MW of heat from geothermal energy. Italy is not far behind. A team of European scientists, in the region of Travale (Italy), is planning to tap the potential of localized geothermal reservoirs. If this project is completed it will produce energy akin to a potential of around 1,000 wind power plants. This is one of the projects discussed at the international final conference of “I-GET” (Integrated Geophysical Exploration Technologies for deep fractured geothermal systems) in Potsdam.

The European Union is also feeling the “heat” of geothermal energy. European nations are waking up to the potential of geothermal energy. This conference aimed at the development of state-of-the art technology with potential geothermal reservoirs. Seven European nations participated in this “I-GET” conference. They want to explore more and more geothermal reservoirs and utilize it for clean and green energy. The project “I-GET” could be a substantial step towards renewable energy source.

The newly developed techniques have been tried at four European geothermal locations. They are combining different geological and thermo¬dynamic conditions. High-temperature reservoirs have been examined in Travale/Italien having metamorphic rocks and in Hengill/Island (volcanic rocks). They are also examining two deposits with medium-temperature in deep sediment rocks in Groß-Schönebeck/Germany and Skierniewice/Poland.

The implications of the results of “I-GET” would be felt worldwide. Geothermal experts from Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the USA also participated in the “I-GET” project. There were 120 scientists and industry representatives from the 20 countries.

“Reliable geothermal technologies are in demand worldwide. Even countries with a long experience in geothermal energy such as Indonesia and New Zealand are interested in the results acquired in I-GET,” says Dr. Ernst Huenges. Therefore, we hope that this “I-GET” will give the necessary push to the geothermal research. GFZ is currently establishing an International Centre for Geothermal Research, which will, focus on carrying out application-oriented large-scale projects on a national and international level.

Can Geothermal Power Compete with Coal on Price?


Although the environmental benefits of burning less fossil fuel by using renewable sources of energy—such as geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind—are clear, there’s been a serious roadblock in their adoption: cost per kilowatt-hour.


FUENTE – ScientificAmerican – 02/03/09

That barrier may be opening, however—at least for one of these sources. Two recent reports, among others, suggest that geothermal may actually be cheaper than every other source, including coal. Geothermal power plants work by pumping hot water from deep beneath Earth’s surface, which can either be used to turn steam turbines directly or to heat a second, more volatile liquid such as isobutane (which then turns a steam turbine).

Combine a new U.S. president pushing a stimulus package that includes $28 billion in direct subsidies for renewable energy with another $13 billion for research and development, and the picture for renewable energy—geothermal power among the options—is brightening. The newest report, from international investment bank Credit Suisse, says geothermal power costs 3.6 cents per kilowatt-hour, versus 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for coal.


That does not mean companies are rushing to build geothermal plants: There are a number of assumptions in the geothermal figure. First, there are the tax incentives, which save about 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Those won’t necessarily last forever, however—although the stimulus bill extended them through 2013.

Second, the Credit Suisse analysis relied on what is called the “levelized [sic] cost of energy,” or the total cost to produce a given unit of energy. Embedded within this figure is an assumption that the money to build a new geothermal plant is available at reasonable interest rates—on the order of 8 percent.

In today’s economic climate, that just isn’t the case. “In general, there is financing out there for geothermal, but it’s difficult to get and it’s expensive,” Geothermal Energy Association director Karl Gawell told recently. “You have to have a really premium project to get even credit card interest rates.”

That means very high up-front costs. As a result, companies are more likely to spend money on things with lower front-end costs, like natural gas–powered plants, which are cheap to build but relatively expensive to operate because of the cost of the fuel needed to run them.

“Natural gas is popular for this reason,” says Kevin Kitz, an engineer at Boise, Idaho–based U.S. Geothermal, Inc, which owns and operates three geothermal sites. “It has a low capital cost, and even if you project cost of natural gas to be high in future, if you use a high [interest rate in your model] that doesn’t matter very much.”

Natural gas, which came in at 5.2 cents per kilowatt-hour in the analysis, is also popular because it can be deployed anywhere, whereas only 13 U.S. states have identified geothermal resources. Although this limits the scalability of geothermal power, a 2008 survey by the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the U.S. possesses 40,000 megawatts of geothermal energy that could be exploited using today’s technology. (For comparison, the average coal-fired power plant in the U.S. has a capacity of more than 500 MW.)


(read full article)


Author: C. Mims

Geothermal Energy Source in Paris Will Power up New Residential Area




FUENTE – – 17/02/09

Like many other governments, France did not show much interest in alternative energy until now. Could it be because of the world crisis that we all hear about on TV or read in the newspapers? Maybe. But maybe France is interested in becoming a “green” country and help the environment.

Paris wants to invest in geothermal energy and already started to dig and drill to reach for underground hot water. Paris has a lot of potential in geothermal energy, not as much as Iceland, but enough to heat today 170,000 houses. By 2020 this number should be multiplied by six.

The hot water from underground would be pumped up onto ground level and distributed into residential homes for use. The geothermal water has a temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit and could be used to heat up more water for consumption and as well to heat radiators.

The project that just begun, will power a new residential area of about 12,000 apartments that will be built by 2011. It will drastically reduce CO2 emissions , and will power up to 54% of the area’s electricity needs.

Descubren un río subterráneo en Roma que podría producir energía geotérmica


romaRoma, Italia – Científicos italianos han descubierto un gran río subterráneo, que discurre por debajo de Roma, de mayor extensión que el Tíber y que podría servir para producir energía geotérmica, ya que su temperatura media es de 20 grados.

FUENTE – – 10/02/09

Según informa hoy el “Corriere della Sera”, el equipo del vulcanólogo y geoquímico italiano Franco Barberi ha reconstruido el curso del acuífero gracias a la exploración de más de 200 pozos a lo largo de la capital italiana.
“El Tíber esconde, bajo su lecho, un enorme río subterráneo, completamente separado, que podría ser utilizado como fuente de energía geotérmica para calentar y enfriar gran parte de las viviendas de la capital, con un notable ahorro de combustible y reducción de la contaminación”, ha asegurado Barberi.
Sin embargo, el científico ha precisado que no se debe imaginar este acuífero como una caverna bajo la ciudad, sino que se trata de “un flujo de agua subterránea que discurre entre la grava y la arena del antiguo curso del Tíber, encerrado, por encima y por debajo, por dos estratos de terreno impermeables”.
Su extensión es mucho mayor que la del río superficial, ya que se encuentra incluso varios centenares de metros a ambos lados del mismo.
A través de las muestras extraídas y analizadas por el equipo de científicos, se conoce que el agua del río subterráneo, situado entre 30 y 60 metros por debajo del nivel de la ciudad, tiene un pH neutro y no presenta contaminaciones, mientras que su temperatura, que oscila entre los 18 y los 21 grados, la hace susceptible de ser utilizada para producir energía geotérmica, según los investigadores.
Aunque en el pasado este tipo de energía se extraía de aguas termales a mayor temperatura, los investigadores advierten de que ahora existe la tecnología para utilizar aguas con menos de 20 grados, como se hace ya con éxito en Suecia y otros países del norte de Europa.
El equipo espera ahora que empresas del sector privado se pongan en contacto con ellos para diseñar “prototipos” para la instalación de bombas que extraigan el líquido del acuífero, y el presidente del Instituto Nacional de Geología y Vulcanología, Enzo Boschi, ha asegurado que Roma puede alcanzar así “la independencia de los hidrocarburos, convirtiéndose en la capital más limpia de Europa”.

Los mineros del kilovatio llegan a España



El sector español de las energías renovables no deja de incorporar iniciativas innovadoras, especialmente, en el ámbito científico y tecnológico. 


FUENTE | Expansión | 25/11/2008 

La energía geotérmica, que se produce a partir del aprovechamiento del calor del interior de la Tierra, ha sido una de las últimas tecnologías en entrar en España. 

Todavía no existe ninguna instalación en funcionamiento y la regulación no está aún tan desarrollada como en la industria solar fotovoltaica y la eólica -con fuertes incentivos económicos a los productores a través de la tarifa-, pero un reducido grupo de empresas ya ha comenzado a proyectar la primera central capaz de producir electricidad.

Raúl Hidalgo, director de la australiana Petratherm en España, explica que algunas de las empresas asociadas a la nueva división de geotermia de la Asociación de Productores de Energías Renovables (Appa) han empezado a tratar sobre la posibilidad de crear un consorcio empresarial para poner en marcha la primera planta de producción energética con geotermia en España.

El objetivo del proyecto, que todavía se encuentra en una fase de definición, sería conseguir una central de “demostración” que ayude posteriormente al desarrollo de una regulación específica para este tipo de energía y a un mayor conocimiento de ella entre inversores potenciales y entidades financieras.

Por el momento, participan en la sección de geotérmica de Appa las empresas Acciona, Iberdrola Renovables, Eyra (ACS), la aragonesa Samca, la gallega Norvento y la vasca Ugarriza, además de Petratherm.



En Australia, ya existen varias plantas en funcionamiento, mientras que, en Europa, este tipo de energía ha entrado por Alemania, con cuatro plantas de producción, y por Francia, con una central recién inaugurada. El potencial en España es amplio y Petratherm, que cotiza en la bolsa australiana, ultima el inicio de sondeos de superficie en Madrid, Cataluña y Tenerife.

Desde que un proyecto se plantea y se comienzan los trámites administrativos, una explotación geotérmica de gran profundidad requiere unos cinco años y cerca de 30 millones de euros de inversión hasta que la central está en marcha. La fase de investigación preliminar -sobre superficie-, requiere entre 1 millón y 1,5 millones, mientras que el coste de un sondeo de alta profundidad -se necesitan entre dos y tres- se eleva a ocho o nueve millones.

La producción de electricidad con plantas de geotermia se realiza a través de perforaciones de entre 3.000 y 4.000 metros de profundidad: una vez se tiene el conducto, la central inyecta agua y obtiene vapor capaz de mover las turbinas, y también puede aprovecharse el calor residual para otros usos.

Petratherm obtiene de la bolsa australiana los recursos para financiar sus proyectos y exploraciones. El grueso de los costes se encuentra en los sondeos y la perforación, ya que una vez construida la central, que funciona en continuo -a diferencia de la solar fotovoltaica y la eólica-, los costes operativos son muy bajos.

En España, el grupo australiano prevé la formación de sociedades conjuntas con inversores para ejecutar los proyectos. “Pero, en principio -señala Hidalgo-, al ser una renovable un poco distinta y menos conocida, lo primero es poner de manifiesto el recurso”.



En Alemania, el Gobierno decidió asumir la mayor parte del coste de los primeros sondeos e impulsó un sistema de seguros para posibles inversores. En el caso español, donde las administraciones empiezan a interesarse por esta tecnología, la unión de varias empresas parece la manera más viable para la inauguración de la primera instalación.

En cualquier caso, el potencial en España de dar con un yacimiento energético es probable. “El presidente de Petratherm -explica Hidalgo-, uno de los pioneros de esta tecnología, conoce muy bien la geología española y cree que está poco explotada”.

Autor: Christian de Angelis


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