SDG Short Course II on Feasibility Studies for Geothermal Projects held in El Salvador
"SDG Short Course II on Feasibility Studies for Geothermal Projects" was held in El Salvador during September 17-23 in cooperation with LaGeo S.A. de C.V. As the name implies, the course was the second in a series of short courses held in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it was the tenth event to be held jointly by UNU-GTP and LaGeo since 2006.
This time the Short Course was devoted to feasibility studies of geothermal projects. It consisted of a broad coverage of all project phases leading up to the sale of electricity from a geothermal power plant, and the assessments necessary to present a feasibility study to financiers. This was achieved through lectures and project work. One day was also used to visit the Berlin geothermal power plants (flash and binary), with views of the San Vicente geothermal field taken in en route to Berlin.
As last year, the Short Course was an integral part of the Geothermal Diploma Course for Latin America, which is funded by the Nordic Development Fund through the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs and managed cooperatively by LaGeo, University of El Salvador and UNU-GTP. The 30 students of the Diploma Course attended the Short Course along with other participants specifically invited from the region. In total, 66 participants took part from 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and 1 regional institution (OECS). The wide geographical representation bears witness to the large geothermal potential found within the LAC region, most of which has still not been utilized.
The outline and coverage of the main subject material was largely set by Dr. Bjarni Pálsson, Manager of the Geothermal Department of Landsvirkjun – the Icelandic National Power Company, with major contributions also from Kristján B. Ólafsson, economist, Kevin Padilla, Geothermal Exploration and Resource Manager at LaGeo, Manuel Rivera, Geoscientist, and other LaGeo lecturers and instructors.
Lecturers from Ecuador (Byron Benalcázar and Diego Cabezas), Mexico (Magaly Flores) and Nicaragua (José Francisco Ruiz and Juana del Carmen Ruiz) were invited to report on geothermal project development in their home countries on the opening day. A recorded presentation on geothermal development in Indonesia was delivered by Hary Koestono, Geologist at Pertamina Geothermal Energy, and contributions were made by Dr. Thráinn Fridriksson, Energy Specialist at the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program of the World Bank, both in the form of lectures and discussion.
The Short Course was also used as a platform to launch the El Salvador chapter of Women in Geothermal (WING). This event was led by Rosa Escobar, Engineering Manager at LaGeo, with contributions by Dr. Juliet Newson, Director of the Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavík University and Magaly Flores, Manager at the Federal Commission of Electricity in Mexico. The Short Course was well attended by women overall, with 32 female participants (48.5%) and 34 male partcipants (51.5%). This is the largest group of women to attend the short courses to date.
The Short Course received very positive feedback from the participants, although many agreed that the timeframe was indeed short for the coverage of the important subject material.