Enel Green Power and ENAP start construction of 33 MW expansion of Cerro Pabellón Geothermal Plant

Published on Tuesday, 27 August 2019

  • Geotérmica del Norte, a joint venture between Enel Green Power Chile and Enap, started the construction of the third unit of the Cerro Pabellón geothermal power plant
  • The construction of the new unit, which is expected to start operations in the second half of 2020, will involve an investment of approximately 100 million US dollars


Ollagüe, August 27th, 2019 – Geotérmica del Norte, a joint venture between Enel Chile’s renewable subsidiary Enel Green Power Chile (EGPC) and ENAP, started to build a third generation unit of 33 MW at the geothermal power plant Cerro Pabellón. The construction of the new unit will involve an investment of around 100 million US dollars and is expected to start operations in the second half of 2020.

The new facility, combined with the 48 MW of the two already operating units, will bring Cerro Pabellón’s total capacity to 81 MW. Once the third unit is fully operational, the overall geothermal plant will be able to generate 600 GWh per year, avoiding the emission of around 468,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

“We are leveraging on our expertise in geothermal energy, as well as on the technical characteristics of Cerro Pabellón’s existing units and its transmission line, to extend the plant’s capacity and further harness the potential of Chile’s geothermal sources,” said Guido Cappetti, general manager of Geotérmica del Norte. “The construction of this new unit confirms our role as a pioneer in geothermal energy and our commitment to continue investing in its development, given the important role it can play in diversifying and increasing the sustainability of Chile’s generation mix.”

The new unit will employ high-enthalpy binary cycle technology as used in the already operating units. During the construction phase of the new facility, up to 700 people will be employed and local businesses will be hired to deliver various services, such as transportation, food supply and laundry, contributing to the economic and social development of the communities surrounding the project.

Located on the high plateau of the Atacama Desert in the Antofagasta Region, Cerro Pabellón is the only geothermal plant in South America and the highest of its kind in the world, located at 4,500 meters above sea level.


The Enel Group is Chile’s largest power company by installed capacity with around 7,500 MW, out of which 4,700 MW of renewables, composed of more than 3,500 MW of hydro, over 600 MW of wind, around 500 MW of solar and approx. 40 MW of geothermal. The Group also operates in the distribution sector through Enel Distribución Chile, which serves around 1.9 million customers, and in the advanced energy solutions business through Enel X Chile.

ENAP is a key public actor for the energy development in Chile and the territories in which it operates. It has three Business Lines: Exploration and Production of hydrocarbons (E&P); Refinery and Commercialization (R&C), through which the company operates the Aconcagua (in the Fifth Region), Biobío (in the Eighth Region) and Gregorio (in Magallanes) refineries, where crude oil is processed and converted into fuel; and Gas and Energy (G&E), which is in charge of electricity generation from gas and other non-conventional renewable sources. The company operates assets in Chile, Ecuador, Argentina and Egypt. With around 3,700 workers in different countries, ENAP’s goal is to have teams committed to safety, efficiency and sustainability in each of the countries in which it is present.