Rediscovering the Potential of Geothermal TechnologyBy Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Thu, 09/02/2021 - 18:17
Geothermal technology has been around since the 60s, yet it still remains relatively unknown in comparison to other renewable energy technologies. As this technology garners more attention through proven successes and adaptabilities, GEOTER Renewables intends to capitalize on the technology’s growing interest and is even exploring hybrid systems with photovoltaics. “One of the biggest challenges of introducing technology to a new market is to present it to potential clients. The recent challenges involving the Energy Reform have hampered the advance of renewable energies but our goal is to show clients the workings and benefits of geothermal energy,” said Enrique Papadimitriou, Director General of GEOTER Renewables.
The Spanish company made its way to Mexico in 2016 establishing itself in energy efficiency consultancy and importing technical solutions in climate control systems, domestic hot water, and even electricity generation. Just last year, the company completed its first infrastructure project in Aguascalientes producing 840kW of electricity for a country club. As a nascent sector, the company suffered with the arrival of the pandemic losing potential clients to trimmed expenditures and/or inactivity. Nevertheless, it was able to secure a project in Valle de Bravo, which has expectedly moved at a slower pace compared to other projects due to the current financial and regulatory circumstances.
With an end to the pandemic crisis in sight, GEOTER is looking forward to a revitalized economy so that it can resume its efforts to capture interest in geothermal technology. At the moment, the biggest opportunity for the company has been in geothermal heat pumps, mainly to warm up pools, opening projects in the Rivera Maya, Queretaro, Baja California and Mexico City. Overall, the company’s main objective is to give this technology greater exposure so that hesitant clients feel more comfortable adapting these technologies after seeing the savings and adaptabilities it could offer.
GEOTER has recently run into a new area of exploration after finding a geothermal energy niche through hybrid solutions that involve photovoltaics says Papadimitriou. This unconventional approach provides significant economic benefits and has a lot of potential, he adds. The company is now exploring how to scale this hybrid solution and looking at investment options. “Overall, geothermal energy offers a very attractive ROI, minimal maintenance costs and is easily operable, making it particularly attractive for residential consumers says Papadimitriou.
So far, Mexico has installed 951MW of geothermal energy, coming from five operational fields: Cerro Prieto, Los Azufres, Los Humeros, Las Tres Vírgenes and Domo de San Pedro. 97 percent of this is owned by state utility CFE, according to IEA Geothermal, although exploration permits have been granted to private companies. As this technology builds on its merits and gains its rightful notoriety it is expected to see wider application at different scales.