Why being a volcanic country could change our energy matrix

Published on Thursday, 19 December 2019

“We are very proud of Cerro Pabellón due to the large feat of building a power plant of this size in a remote area and at an extremely high altitude. It is an honor to spearhead the development of geothermal energy not only in Chile but in all of South America, and to contribute to the environment with the development of renewable energy”

– Guido Cappetti, CEO of Geotérmica del Norte

Cerro Pabellón’s positive impact is not only limited to the local sphere, but also on the global level, being recognized as the “Best Geothermal Project” by the Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean (GEOLAC). For the award's judges, the project's complex geographical conditions, high altitude and strong temperature oscillations, as well as its commitment to local communities, were key to obtaining this recognition.

“We want to thank the organizers for this award. We are very proud of Cerro Pabellón due to the technological, organizational and labor challenges implied by the construction of a plant of this scope”

– Guido Cappetti, CEO of Geotérmica del Norte

Positive impact on the community

Cerro Pabellón has also been recognized for the benefits it has generated at the local level. This is because the construction of the highest geothermal plant in the world included the participation of citizens from six surrounding indigenous communities, who were consulted in the design of a long-term work strategy for local inclusion and development. In fact, since the project's construction, women from different communities created small businesses to provide a variety of services.

Another positive aspect of Cerro Pabellón was the energy agreement signed with the neighboring towns. 

“We are committed to delivering ongoing electricity to the surrounding communities, starting in Toconce, with the installation of solar kits and lithium ion batteries for the town's 90 families. In Ollagüe, we built a solar/wind power hybrid plant that allows for constant access to electricity and where the community itself is responsible for its operation and maintenance. Moreover, the historical, cultural and archaeological areas have been protected”

– Guido Cappetti, CEO of Geotérmica del Norte.

Cerro Pabellón is an example of the great sustainable potential for geothermal energy in Chile, a country which has a privileged geography, rich in volcanoes, and located along the Pacific Ring of Fire. By leveraging these features, the country will be able to make a positive contribution, through sustainable development, to the lives of millions of Chileans who will benefit from this form of clean energy necessary for the future of humanity.