El Salvador has capacity to install over 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy

The extinct CNE conducted studies for 12 potential generation projects with solar, geothermal, wind and natural gas technology.

El Salvador has the capacity to install more than 1,200 megawatts of power with renewable generation plants, according to a study by the Central Reserve Bank (BCR).

The research cites the extinct National Energy Centre (CNE), who proposed in 2022 new renewable projects to be developed from 2025 and 2026 with geothermal, photovoltaic, wind and natural gas technologies.

In geothermal technology, an extension of the wells managed by LaGeo, subsidiary of the Executive Commission Hidroelectric del Río Lempa (CEL), was proposed. Currently, LaGeo operates a power plant in Ahuachapán with 95 MW, and another in Berlin, Usulután, with 109.4 MW, which both total 204.4 MW.

According to the proposal, in Chinameca, San Miguel, a well can be built with capacity to generate 25 MW and in San Vicente 20 MW.

In February 2023, CEL confirmed that the English Panamanian consortiumInterEnergy had won a tender to build and operate two wells, precisely in Chinameca and San Vicente, for 20 MW and 10 MW, respectively. The company has 24 months to develop the projects.

Sun, watching and gas

Proposals were also made to develop five photovoltaic farms that total 300 megawatts.

The portfolio includes two solar parks in La Unión with 50 MW and 100 MW, respectively.

Also a 100 MW farm in San Vicente, one of 50 MW in La Libertad and another of 50 MW in Sonsonate.

Studies found it feasible to build two wind farms in Santa Ana, each with 100 and 60 megawatts, respectively. In addition, there is a proposal for CEL to develop a 40 MW plant in Guajoyo.

Currently, El Salvador has only a 54 megawatt wind farm, located in Metapán, Santa Ana.

The three proposed plants would add 200 MW to the installed capacity.

In the Union there is potential to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants with 400 megawatts, a technology considered to be transition because it generates much less pollution than fossil fuel.

Pacific Energy (EDP) is a pioneer in this technology with itsmegaplant with capacity for 380 megawatts, located in Acajutla, Sonsonate. This energy project required more than $1 billion and represents, so far, the largest private investment implemented in El Salvador.

The BCR document recalls that the electricity sector enabled the participation of the private sector in 1996, which facilitated the most active promotion of renewable energy sources, accounting for 68.4 per cent in 2021 of the total national installed capacity.

After hydroelectric generation, by CEL, solar power has the second largest installed capacity with 22 per cent of total renewable energy.

According to the study, El Salvador reported the evaluation and issuance of certificates for 20 renewable energy generation projects, representing $52.7 million invested between 2019 and 2021.

Twelve projects were also registered as power generators with 18.49 MW, with an investment of 37.02 million.

This artice has been translated after first appearing in Diario El Mundo