Geothermal Power Plants for the Azores Islands

Two subsidiaries of the US-based Ormat geothermal energy company recently secured contracts for a new geothermal power plant to be constructed on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores. Construction of the power plant is expected to be completed in approximately 19 months and will cost approximately US$ 25 million.

The customer, a subsidiary of the local Electric Company in the Azores Islands, has purchased two Geothermal Power Plants from ORMAT in the past. The new power plant is expected to contribute to the efforts of the local authorities to have the base load needs of the Island provided by dependable, domestic and clean geothermal power. The Azores are located hundreds of miles off the coast of Portugal and rely almost exclusively on imported fuel for their energy demands. The new plant will optimize energy use by converting into electric power energy from both geothermal steam and brine from geothermal wells. Unlike the flash steam turbine plants which consume water in the cooling towers, the new plant will use air-cooled condensers which enable 100 percent geothermal fluid reinjection, according to Ormat. The 100 percent reinjection serves both to sustain the reservoir and to produce electrical power with virtually no environmental impact, according to the company. It will use the hi-performance hi-efficiency organic turbine developed by ORMAT for geothermal and recovered-energy applications. The two existing ORMAT plants on the Island already use air-cooled condensers. “This contract marks our third Geothermal Power plant on the Island of Sao Miguel, Azores, which demonstrates the effectiveness and reliability of our solutions,” said Lucien Y. Bronicki, Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer of Ormat Technologies. “The Azores Islands are a significant resource for geothermal development, which we believe will provide Ormat with additional growth opportunities that we look forward to developing.” Ormat has over 700 MW of geothermal power in 18 countries.
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