Nayarit's San Pedro Dome

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 17:17

Sometimes, it is the harder road that brings the best results. Grupo Dragón embarked on its ambitious plans to build a geothermal power plant in Mexico before the new regulatory landscape reshaped the market. There were no clear processes in place for its development but the group went ahead and its San Pedro Dome power plant now contributes both to the power grid and the community.

The San Pedro Dome is a 25MW geothermal power plant in San Pedro Lagunillas, Nayarit. The company started exploring the field in November 2010. By 2014, it had drilled and evaluated five exploratory wells and began building transmission lines, substations and generating units. It started commercial operations in 2015. But the road was not always easy. By 2011, when Grupo Dragón started drilling for the Dome’s first well, there was no regulatory framework to capitalize on the vast potential of geothermal energy in the country. As a private entity, the processes needed to develop the project were unclear. Grupo Dragón forged the path with this project.

The San Pedro Dome was developed under the Public Electricity Service Law with a self-supply arrangement and a 52MW power-generation concession. The plant’s estimated power generation is equivalent to the average annual usage of over 133,000 Mexican households. Among the off-takers are national and international industrial users, commercial users and schools. These partners not only reduce their electricity costs significantly but also actively contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions.

From the outset, Grupo Dragón reached out to the surrounding community and built a close relationship, which has been a key element in its success. The cooperation has resulted in significant economic and social benefits for the area. The continuous influx of exploration, construction and maintenance work is an important source of employment for the adjacent population. Many of the components used in the project, such as pipelines, pumps, motors, electric equipment and sensors, are also built in Mexico, boosting job creation and economic development not only locally but across the country. Beyond the economic and environmental benefits of geothermal energy, there is the added value of having it in the country’s power matrix. As a result of not being dependent on hydrocarbon imports and the uncertainty of prices associated with that, geothermal increases a country’s energy security.