“”You build a power plant and drill the wells, which is the fuel for the 30 years to come. So there is a significant capital investment involved, but it pays out—that’s for sure. —Edward Corash, Ormat Technologies Inc., Reno, Nevada, USA
PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIPEDIA
The government of Guatemala wants to play with fire. The Pacaya volcano erupted in May, killing two and forcing mass
evacuations—but harnessing its energy could
help the nation meet its goal of producing
60 percent of its energy from geothermal and
hydroelectric power by 2022.
Ormat Technologies Inc., a Reno, Nevada,
USA-based company, led projects to build and
set up two geothermal power plants in Guatemala. The plants use heat generated by the shifting tectonic plates that cause earthquakes and
Geothermal plants harness this renewable energy
source and are more reliable and eco-friendly than
hydroelectric dams, according to Ormat.
Such a volatile environment does come with
risks—the company had to temporarily shut
down one of its plants when Pacaya erupted.
That isn’t stopping it from planning future proj-
ects, though: “There’s a phase where you just have
to drill and see,” Ormat representative Yossi Shilon
told the news agency Reuters. “The problem is that
you risk a very expensive investment and are not
always satisfied with the results.”
Governmental tax breaks, though, help con-
vert these project hotspots into ROI.