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Geothermal Energy In Bolivia - Update and Perspectives
The geothermal development in Bolivia started in the 1970s with surface explorations along the Andean Cordillera and demonstrating prospective geothermal potential in some areas: Sajama, Empexa and Sol de Mañana. Six geothermal wells were drilled between 1987 and 1992 in the geothermal areas of Sol de Mañana and Apacheta, as part of the geothermal project Laguna Colorada. Based on evaluation field tests conducted in 1996-1997 and 2012-2013, it was determined that the minimum potential of the field is 100 MWe. By the end of 2018, a contract for the construction of an ORC pilot power plant (5 MW) was signed and its operation is expected to start by the end of 2023. Likewise, tender documents for the drilling of 25 new wells would be released in 2023, with field operations initiating in 2024. The first 50 MW unit is estimated to be constructed in 2026, followed by a second 50 MW unit in 2027. On the other hand, geoscientific studies were carried out in the geothermal area Empexa during the first semester of 2022, the research will provide insights into the potential of the reservoir and the future development of the area. Finally, the government is seeking funding to conduct feasibility studies in the Sajama geothermal area.