Colombia, positioned along the Pacific Ring of Fire and renowned for its volcanic activity, is venturing into geothermal energy exploration. In a noteworthy development, Colombia has granted its first geothermal energy exploration license to a private company, marking a significant step in the country’s energy sector.
Colombia’s geothermal potential
Parex Resources, a Canadian firm, has secured this pioneering license to initiate a geothermal energy project covering approximately 4.2 square kilometers in Casanare’s municipalities of Mani and Aguazul. Initial estimates suggest an energy production range of 15 to 60 kilowatts, with the potential for expansion to 120 kilowatts. The license, valid until 2041, reflects Colombia’s intent to diversify its energy resources and decrease reliance on non-renewable options.
Leveraging geological assets
Colombia’s geothermal potential is intricately tied to its geological features, characterized by volcanic activity and tectonic phenomena. Regions like Caldas, Tolima, Risaralda, and Narino, home to volcanoes such as San Diego, Nevado del Ruiz, and Cerro Bravo, are identified as geothermal energy-rich areas. According to estimates by the Colombian Geological Service (SGC) and the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Colombia’s geothermal capacity stands at 1,170 MW. This underscores the nation’s opportunity to transition towards cleaner and sustainable energy sources.
Challenges and opportunities
Geothermal energy exploration is not without its challenges. These encompass the need for specialized equipment, skilled labor, significant installation costs, and infrastructure development. Additionally, environmental considerations, such as the potential for water source contamination, require vigilant management. Despite these challenges, Colombia remains committed to diversifying its energy portfolio and reducing its carbon footprint.
Colombia’s venture into geothermal energy exploration signifies a practical step towards sustainable energy generation. The issuance of the license to Parex Resources marks the initiation of a new chapter in Colombia’s energy sector—one that explores cleaner and environmentally responsible power generation.