Geothermal Plant Receives Upgrade

A new Ormat Geothermal Binary Power Plant at Momotombo, Nicaragua has been upgraded from the original 8 MW output to 35 MW now that renovations and expansions on the existing plant are complete.

Momotombo, Nicaragua – March 20, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The new Plant was inaugurated at a ceremony in late February and attended by the President of Nicaragua, Ing. Enrique Bolaños Geyer, Ministers, Members of the Cabinet and the Mayor of La Paz Centro. “We are very enthusiastic and optimistic today at the inauguration of the new plant, which produces clean energy using the steam rising from the depths of the volcano,” said Ing. Enrique Bolaños Geyer, President of Nicaragua, at the ceremony. “This has an even higher value today, as it is accentuated by the impending war and corresponding increase in oil prices, since 70 percent of Nicaragua’s electricity is based on oil. Nicaragua has an impressively large geothermal resource waiting to be tapped. We should use this advantage to diminish our dependency on oil”. The inauguration ceremony celebrated a four-year rehabilitation process, completed by the Ormat Momotombo Power Company Inc., a subsidiary of Ormat International, Inc. The project started in March 1999 when the company signed a 15 year Concession and Power Purchase Agreement with ENEL, the Nicaraguan National Power Company, to rehabilitate the Momotombo Geothermal Power Plant. At the time Ormat took over the Momotombo plant it was producing only 8 MW. Now, after an investment of US$35 Million, the power output has been increased to 35 MW. Ormat accomplished this dramatic increase in capacity by rehabilitating the existing steam plant, drilling new wells and installing an Ormat Energy Converter, which produces additional power from the heat previously wasted in the geothermal brine. This geothermal brine, which flowed into Lake Momotombo, is now fully reinjected into the ground thereby eliminating the brine as a source of pollution to the lake. “We are very satisfied with our investment here,” said Lucien Bronicki, Ormat’s Chairman. “We provide low cost electricity at 4.79 cents per kilowatt-hour, while saving Nicaragua the import of 90,000 tons of fuel per year. At the same time the project offsets a yearly emission of 120,000 tons of CO2, and eliminates the flow of polluting brine to Momotombo Lake.” The $35 Million investment was provided through an equity investment by Ormat and long term limited recourse debt provided by Bank Hapoalim. The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, supported the financing. More than 40 Ormat geothermal power plants have been constructed around the world in 21 countries, from California in the USA to Thailand, and from Iceland to New Zealand. As of early 2003 the operation of these plants has saved over 4,000,000 tons of fuel and avoided emission of over 12,000,000 tons of CO2.

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