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Volcanic electricity

Monday, October 9, 2017

Recent earthquakes in Mexico and Central America come from the movement of giant plates under the earth’s surface.

But the same geology contains volcanic energy, which can be harnessed for electric power.

US Geothermal is exploring potential plants in Guatemala.

Bluestone Resources, based in the United States, is developing a combined gold mine and geothermal project.

Ormat Technologies, also based in the United States, expects that its 25-megawatt Platanares geothermal plant, in operation since last month, will provide $33 million a year of electricity to Honduras’ power utility, the ENEE.

Nicaragua alone has a potential capacity of as much as 1,500 MW.

Currently, Costa Rica has 207 MW of installed capacity of geothermal power, and El Salvador has 204 MW, while Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala have about 50 MW each.

The capital cost of geothermal plants is high, compared to solar or wind power.

But geothermal plants produce energy constantly.

Like sun and wind, geothermal energy has low environmental impact.

A geothermal plant turns turbines, using from steam from undergound volcanic activity.