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Nicaragua renewable energy

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nicaragua will within ten years rely on renewable sources to generate 80% of its electric power, compared to 50% today and only one fifth a decade ago, Javier Chamorro, head of the country’s export promotion agency ProNicaragua, said last week.

At the same time, the country’s biggest geothermal project is trying to reach planned output levels.

Renewable sources could generate close to 6,000 megawatts, including 1,500 megawatts from geothermal energy alone.

This would be the biggest Central American source of geothermal power.

Conditions are favorable in addition for hydro and wind generation, as well as for solar power, as the cost of photovoltaic cells continues to decrease.

Depending on production costs, Nicaragua could export electricity via the Central American Interconnection System, which extends from Guatemala to Panama.

Current Nicaraguan electrical capacity is 1,300 megawatts, which in large part meets the needs of the country with the lowest consumption per person in the region, according to the World Bank.

Incentives available for a producer of renewable energy include an income tax holiday for up to seven years, along with an exemption from the payment of duties on imported machinery and equipment.

Meanwhile, a performance test three months ago by Polaris Energy Nicaragua at its San Jacinto geothermal operation produced 55 megawatts, 17 megawatts short of its planned output.

Polaris is a subsidiary of United States-based Ram Power Corporation.

Nicaragua is in addition exploring three other geothermal sites: El Hoyo, Casita and Chiltepe.