Compared to its neighboring countries, Nicaragua has rather limited energy reserves, resulting in most of the commercial electricity having to be generated through imported petroleum and the rest generated from geothermal and hydropower.
However, with the current target of having 94% of their energy needs being obtained from renewable sources by 2017 through the National Development Plan, there appears to be more optimistic times ahead.
The aim of the project is to see to Nicaragua’s continued development in terms of infrastructure. Presently, the project aims to ensure that 50% of the country’s energy requirements is provided through renewable sources by the end of 2013 while the long term goal, if successful, would result in electricity being sold at about 37% less than the average current prices.
A major part of the project is the San Jacinto Project, a 72 MW geothermal power plant located in the San Jacinto-Tizate geothermal area, which is thought to be among the most fruitful volcanic reservoirs in the region. The 9,800-acre project is estimated to be able to generate about 17% of the total electricity needs of the Central American nation.
Presently operating commercially, there are still plans to expand the project by adding a “bottoming cycle” or binary unit which will potentially add nearly 10 MW of capacity. The Vice President of Latin America for Ram Power, Tono Rodriguez, who also doubles as the COO was pleased with the general performance of the team during the expansion in keeping within the budget, and said, “The Project’s Fuji America turbines have exceeded our expectations in terms of their efficiency and performance.”
He also added that there have been immense benefits and experience obtained during the Phase I part of the project, such that the Phase II part has been largely more effective and efficient. Things are looking good for Nicaragua, then, who look to reducing their dependency on foreign oil.