Major study guides geothermal projects in Nicaragua

Nicaragua, Central America

As part of a geothermal master planning effort, a comprehensive 11-volume report was prepared using GeothermEx™ geothermal consulting services. The report, which covered all major geothermal sites and included detailed maps and an exhaustive database, now serves as a guide for government agencies and private geothermal developers throughout the country.

With 10 active volcanoes, Nicaragua is ideally suited for the development of geothermal energy. Since 2020, geothermal sources have provided more than 30% of all electricity generated and represented nearly half of all renewable energy sources.

To tap its geothermal potential, the Nicaraguan government developed a master plan to assess all existing and potential geothermal resources in the country. GeothermEx services were chosen for the project based on decades of experience with the geothermal resources of Central America generally and Nicaragua specifically. GeothermEx services focused on the most critical elements, including the size and likely potential of each resource area, transmission access and constraints, and environmental protection issues.

For this job, GeothermEx services included evaluating geothermal potential across the entire volcanic cordillera of western Nicaragua. As one of the first steps, all previous reports and analyses found in the public domain were evaluated, along with documents held by various agencies. This was followed by extensive field work, which included training local personnel to complement the GeothermEx team.

Together, the in-country team made detailed assessments of each of 10 different geothermal resource areas using a wide range of methods, including field geology, mapping, water and gas sampling, fluid chemistry analysis, and geophysical surveys. To evaluate the generation potential of areas with limited resource information, a customized program was designed to estimate subsurface heat content based on recent volcanic activity.

The final result of the project was an 11-volume report that prioritized the Nicaraguan geothermal sites in terms of their development potential. In total, the 10 areas were estimated to have a combined potential of 1.5 gigawatts of geothermal power. The team also produced a detailed map of the country annotated with specific geothermal data, along with a comprehensive database of fluid chemistry information.

This work led to the establishment of concession limits and conditions for the development of Nicaragua’s geothermal resources, as well as assessing the technical and economic feasibility of increasing geothermal power production in Nicaragua. The 11-volume report now serves as a guide for government agencies and private geothermal developers throughout the country.

Technical details

For more information, read the Nicaraguan Geothermal Master Plan.

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A geothermal wellhead in Nicaragua.
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