Argentina’s first geothermal power plant, planned for Neuquen province, will be online by 2015, according to a spokesman for the provincial government. The facility will be constructed at the Las Mellizas mine in Copahue, 380km from the city of Neuquen at an altitude of 2000m. A 45km, 132kV transmission line will connect it to the national grid.

The concession has been granted to Geothermal One who will have to demonstrate that they have the necessary technical and engineering plan and the potential to raise the capital before a final contract is signed. After that it will take five years to drill exploration and production wells, and construct the plant and transmission lines.”

The potential at the site according to the studies carried out over the last 30 years has been calculated at a minimum of 30MW and could reach 90 MW. Four wells were drilled in the 1980s and a 0.6MW pilot plant was built, at the time was the first in Latin America, but the continent does not yet have an operational geothermal power plant.