Canary Islands continue quest for geothermal energy utilisation.

The Canary Islands establish two working groups to look at high enthalpy and low enthalpy geothermal opportunities for the islands archipelago that is located on the northwestern tip of Africa, but belongs to Spain.

The Canary Islands are an island archipelago belonging to Spain, located on the coast of the northwestern tip of Africa. Being a volcanic island group, geothermal energy has been a topic for many many years.

We have reported on the potential, but also on the interest of various private groups to develop geothermal power project, that could help move away from a dependency on diesel for power generation and help on the energy security situation of the archipelago.

This week, in the first worktable sector organized by the Ministry of Industry and Energy of the Government of the Canary Islands, many of the barriers for geothermal development in the Islands were discussed as well as the actions that could help push development.

Canary Islands, Spain.
Canary Islands, Spain.

The worktable of geothermal energy in the Canary Islands decided the creation of two groups. The first will develop high enthalpy deposits of high temperature (above 100-150 degrees Celsius) mainly for power generation. According to the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) there are still no plants that take advantage of high temperature deposits for electricity generation in our country. The only large areas with the possibility of existence of high temperature deposits are located in the Canary Islands, given its volcanic morphology, and in the Southeast. The municipality of Güímar (Tenerife) plans to hold the first electric high temperature geothermal power plant in Spain, a proposal submitted to Tenerife Cabildo by the Slovak company Arllen Development .

The second group will drive low enthalpy geothermal energy or low temperature, for a heating and cooling, mainly in tourist facilities and shopping centers. The Canarian Government subsidized nine projects of geothermal energy which benefit mainly resorts that use energy for air conditioning and water heating with EUR 900,000 last year. At present there are some 50 establishments in the Canary Islands using this energy.

Bathymetric map of the Macaronesian archipelagos. The Canary Islands (blue), Madeira (red), and the Cape Verde (green).
Bathymetric map of the Macaronesian archipelagos. The Canary Islands (blue), Madeira (red), and the Cape Verde (green).

To provide information on permits and licenses needed to undertake geothermal projects in the Canary Islands and also for local, island and regional administrations efforts are needed to coordinate and not paralyze investment. Therefore it was decided to publish two guides, one for high and one for low enthalpy. The ultimate goal is to have two simple, clear manual through which any producer or client know which frame can move within the geothermal energy in the Canary Islands, the regulator and financial.

On the worktable Geotermia in Canary participated all institutions, associations and companies involved in the development of geothermal energy in the Canary Islands, including town halls, the Canary Islands Technological Institute (ITC), the Canary Association of Renewable Energies (ACER), the Spanish Geothermal Technology Platform, the Wind Energy Association de Canarias (Aeolican), the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE) and the universities of La Laguna and Las Palmas, the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain, colleges of Engineering, School of Mines and entrepreneurs, both part of the research and production as well as consumption.

The island of Gran Canaria is actively participating in this workshop as the insular entity has been working on geothermal projects for quite some time, Lanzarote is the leading island with facilities that are important examples for the Canary Islands and Spain; the geothermal potential of Fuencaliente becomes cornerstone to expand the energy sovereignty of La Palma; Tenerife is preparing to receive the first central high temperature geothermal power; the project Geothercan (with a budget of EUR 1.7 million, of which EUR1 million has already been invested) seeks geothermal resources in the subsoil areas located in 6, 4 in Tenerife, Gran Canaria and 1 another in La Palma, covering an area of 800 km2.

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