Berlín is not in Germany!

Dear friends of the IGA, dear friends of Geothermal, Queridos amigos,

Thank you so much for the good feedback and all your messages. I know you are waiting for my first report and here we finally go with a summary of the first week:

After a smooth travel and very warm welcome by our partners the GIZ GEO II project, we started the official programme with a joint visit of the Consejo Nacional de Energía (CNE). Mr. Salvador Handal, Secretario Ejecutivo CNE and his team gave a very good update on the current geothermal development and showed opportunities and challenges for the country (see also info box).

Salvador Handal, Secretario Ejecutivo CNE

INFO: Geothermal in El Salvador

The economically and technically viable geothermal potential of Central America is estimated at 3 to 5 gigawatts (GW). In El Salvador, about 204 MW are currently used for electricity generation, covering about 14% of the entire energy demand. However, only 7 MW are used directly for thermal energy in entire Central America and there are numerous opportunities to use geothermal energy directly for industrial applications, such as for drying fruit and seeds, heating greenhouses or cooling warehouses and or the cooling of storage rooms and buildings.

  • Production wells in operation: 32
  • Injection wells in operation: 27
  • Total geothermal-electric installed capacity: 204.4 MWe
  • Generation of electricity: 1,421 GWh

Together, we made the first field trip to the Berlín geothermal field, operated by LaGeo. As a German I am aware now, that Berlín can be a very green city, if you just travel about 10,000 km.

The Berlín geothermal field generates about 95-100 MWe corresponding to about 7% of the country’s total electricity. The exploration at the Berlín field commenced in early 1970 when well TR-1 was drilled. To achieve the steam requirements, in total 20 wells have been drilled (6 producers and 14 injectors). To improve the thermal performance of the plant, a binary unit (9.2 MW) was installed and is currently being tested.

“Geothermal Chicken” at the Berlín Geothermal Power Plant

Berlín Geothermal Power Plant

Since there are many coffee farms located around the geothermal field, LaGeo also supports the development of a coffee drying finca. The aim is to reduce the required energy and water for the processing and the geothermal potential in the area can help to produce much more cost efficient and save valuable resources.

LaGeo will present its activities also at the “Geothermal Direct Use: Global Forum & Tour” from September 27-29, 2021. More Info and registration:

Coffee drying finca nearby Berlín

Coffee Plant

Neimy Catiliana Giron Calixito (GIZ) taking an interview

LaGeo, S.A. de C.V. is a state-owned company of El Salvador, controlled by the Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctrica del Río Lempa, incorporated in 1993 to produce electricity from El Salvador’s geothermal resources in a rational and sustainable way.

With its foundation FundaGeo they seek to improve the quality of life of the communities with activities in education, crime prevention, and providing basic infrastructures.

Further information:

Another visit related to the production of coffee brought us to La Laguna, Chalatenango. The local director Arnulfo and his team connected us to Jesús, a local coffee maker, who specialized in coffee production and lifted up the quality of his products to the highest level. We have been invited to a coffee tasting and indeed this was maybe the best coffee I have ever had.

Many homes in these rural areas are still not connected to the electricity grid and miss basics like toilets in their homes. We will jointly discover, how Geothermal could be an accelerator to upgrade the lives of the people and connect them to the global value chain.

IGA/ GIZ/ CNE delegation at La Laguna, Chalatenango

Arnulfo, local community manager (left) and Jesús, Coffee Genius (right)

IGA/ GIZ/ CNE delegation at La Laguna, Chalatenango

Summary: It has been a very good week and we had the chance to discover the Geothermal potential and possible applications, and the potential is huge. Therefore, we are delighted about the work of GIZ with the GEO II project to facilitate the development and transform the potential into real projects. Geothermal is for the people and we met wonderful and dedicated people. Against all prejudices El Salvador is a very rich country, rich of good people. iQue chivo!

Stay tuned for the next update!

Best wishes,
Gregorio Arturo de la Montaña de Ron

Gregor Rumberg, IGA Chief Operating Officer
Social media author handle: /gr


*This study tour is undertaken within the Memorandum of Understanding between the IGA and the project “Geothermal Heat Utilization for Industrial Processes in the SICA member countries (GEO II)” – implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to support geothermal direct use activities in the 8 SICA-countries and undertake joint activities in the areas Training and Capacity Building, Implementation of Demonstrative Projects and Awareness Rising, Networking, Information and Communication on direct uses of geothermal energy.