In the central cordillera of the Andes, is located Nevado del Ruiz volcano, surrounded by a large area of surface and keeping in the ground wealth of an increasingly more important and vital energy.
Colombia has a privileged geographical position and a favorable geological setting, since it is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area where the natural temperature of the ground, close to the surface is high due to the volcanic activity that is present associated with features suitable for geothermal exploitation.
Studies of recognition made by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE) and the Colombian Institute of Electricity (ICEL), Colombia has several areas of interest for geothermal electricity generation or direct use of steam for industrial processes or tourist. Moreover, ISAGEN Colombian utility company, in 2008 and with the support of the Agency for Development and Trade of the United States (USTDA), performed the Basic Feasibility Study for the Development of a geothermal project in the Volcanic Massif Ruiz.
Given the potential for exploitation of the resource, the Energy Division of the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) support the development of a geothermal plant in the area, through the necessary studies that provided the basis for the design and construction of a 50-megawatt geothermal, as well as strengthening the existing regulatory framework to spur non-conventional energy at national level.
The geothermal plant project is the first of its kind in Colombia, which is considered as a pilot project of technological innovation that also links to research centers and national institutions for the advancement of science and technology in this field.
But what is geothermal energy?
Geothermal energy is a clean, renewable energy, which can be obtained by utilizing the heat inside the earth. In general what is done to exploit this resource is extracted to the surface by drilling and well construction, vapor and liquid for reuse in electricity generation turbines, as well as used for heating, hot water, among others. This energy produces less waste and pollution than conventional resources such as coal or oil.
Locally, the strength of the Volcano Nevado Ruiz has always been a matter of respect and fear for the residents of the area as it is remembered by some devastating eruptions, the most striking was in 1985 where a relatively mild eruption melted volcano glacier, which provoked mud and ash flows that buried several villages between Armero, killing 25,000 people.
At 25 years of this tragedy, the energy that keeps the earth around the face Ruiz shows us a different, more friendly, which is expected to serve the community in the very near future.
With this initiative, and with Colombia a country that gets 70% of its energy from renewable resources such as the water, will it be a country soon to be 100% clean energy?