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Geothermal project in Guatemala

Amatitlán geothermal project in Guatemala—harnessing the power of renewable energy through innovative technology

Guatemala faces a growing demand for energy which has largely been met through fossil fuel based sources. The country is very fortunate to have significant renewable resources including geothermal power of around 800 MW. However, to date Guatemala hasn't unleashed the full potential of these resources and only approximately 10% of energy is being generated from hydroelectric sources and 3% from geothermal.

Amatitlán in detail
The purpose of the Amatitlán project is to utilise geological resources that exist in the Amatitlán geothermal field. This has been achieved through the implementation of a state-of-the-art geothermal power plant to generate renewable energy that can be despatched to the Guatemalan electricity grid. The plant utilises three turbines to generate around 162,000 MWh of power annually and as a result reduces greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 82,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. This project was registered with the CDM EB in December 2008.

The benefits
This project utilises the CDM to provide carbon financing which has allowed Guatemala to not only gain access to additional financing to make the project viable, but also to innovative technology that did not exist in the country previously.

In addition to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the country, the development of the Amatitlán project has also significantly contributed to the sustainable development of Guatemala in the following ways:
• The provision of additional employment opportunities in the local area generated approximately 500 temporary jobs throughout the construction phase and 20 permanent operational and maintenance jobs;
• This project is helping to diversify the electricity portfolio of Guatemala by providing access to renewable geothermal energy which increases the stability of the power supply to customers as it's free of seasonal or fuel driven price fluctuations;
• The implementation of a programme to reduce flooding in the area which includes the reforestation of the surrounding hillsides with over 5,000 trees as well as repairing the local road infrastructure.

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