World Geothermal Congress 2020+1
March - October, 2021

Geothermal Country Update for Ecuador: 2015 - 2020

Bernardo BEATE. Matilde URQUIZO, Andres LLORET

[Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Dpto. de Geologia, Ecuador]

Geothermal Country Update for Ecuador: 2015 – 2020 The groundbreaking geothermal event was the drilling of the first deep exploration well in the history of Ecuador in Nov. 2017 in the Chachimbiro prospect. The well reached 2000m with a BHT of 235 °C, under non-reimbursable funding and technical cooperation of JICA to CELEC. A follow up 2nd stage, to be funded by a gov to gov loan through JICA is envisioned for drilling 6 to 10 additional appraisal wells and for the installation of a 5MWe wellhead unit, both to be tendered by CELEC under JICA regulations; positive results would aim for a 50 MW power plant. Chachimbiro is the first priority prospect, of 11 prospects in the Geothermal Plan launched by MEER in 2010, to complete the prefeasibility stage with a successful deep exploration well. Three high temperature prospects, namely Chacana-Jamanco, Chacana-Cachiyacu and Tufiño-Chiles, and one low temperature prospect, Chalpatán, are almost ready for deep exploratory drilling. The other six prospects are Chalupas, Guapán, Chimborazo, Chacana-Oyacachi, Baños de Cuenca and Alcedo, which are awaiting MEER funding to complete prefeasibility stage studies and site deep exploration wells to tap geothermal energy for electricity generation and direct uses. Additionally, CELEC has obtained 40 % funding from GDF to pursue a thermal gradient study in Chacana-Jamanco, which includes drilling several gradient wells in 2019; the remainder 60% is going to be funded by CELEC. On the other hand, CELEC has installed a state of the art laboratory for water and gas analysis for geothermal exploration and purchased equipment for Grav-Mag- MT surveys and rock studies, and has been very active in capacity building by sending staff members to overseas training programs in Japan, Iceland, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Utilization of geothermal energy is still restricted to direct uses in swimming pools (5.16 MWt and 102.4 TJ/yr for annual utilization). Nevertheless, the IIGE, which is in charge of development of low temperature geothermal resources, has started the construction of the first greenhouse powered by GSHP with horizontal ground loop. The IIGE also launched the study of the use of low to medium temperature geothermal resources in the country energy mix. The expected outcome of this study should be the Geothermal Resource Map, which will be done with the technical support of CEGA in the framework of the gov-gov agreement with Chile. IIGE future developments include the study for a geothermal desalination plant in Galápagos, geothermal heating using PCR (phase change materials) for urban and rural buildings and restart the low temperature Chillos Valley Geothermal Project based on USAID 1983 report. Taking into account the whole of the territory of Ecuador, including the 200 miles of ocean surrounding the mainland and the Galapagos archipelago, six geothermal plays are proposed as to locate and consider geothermal potential (theoretical): 1.Galápagos Rift, 2.Galápagos Hot Spot, 3.Northern Andes, 4.Southern Andes, 5.Forearc Cenozoic basin, and 6.Backarc Meso-Cenozoic basin. Government policies, according to the Master Plan for Electricity, aim to develop renewable resources, including geothermal, to substantially lessen the use of fossil fuels. The current energy mix is dominated by hydro (59%), fossil fuels (40%) and other (1%) with a total installed generation capacity of 7470 MWe. The gross energy production is 22546 GWh/yr (as of 2016), where 15400 GWh are from renewables and 7064 GWh are from fossil fuels; the remainder 81.66 GWh corresponds to imported energy from Colombia and Perú. Finally, geothermal energy utilization in Ecuador is challenged to be cost-efficient in light of an abundant hydro resource, as well as to be environmentally safe and socially accepted.

        Topic: Country Updates Paper Number: 01022

         Session 6A: Country Updates 6 -- Americas [Tuesday 13th April 2021, 10:00 am] (UTC-8)
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