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Güimar unveils ambitious geothermal power station project 

Plans for Spain’s first ever geothermal power station of high temperature at Guimar could create around 100 new jobs.

The ambitious project is being proposed by the Slovakian company, Arllen Development which has been working with the local council for months. It would include a waste water treatment plant for agricultural and desalination of sea water into drinking water which will work with this clean energy.

The company has already signed an agreement to buy a quarry located in the old mining zone of Los Barrancos and a management company will be created with several local and national investors. These have already shown an interest in joining the scheme which is expected to start operating in late 2018 after the mandatory environmental impact studies.

The Mayoress of Guimar, Carmen Luisa Castro said it was the right time to launch such a project which would take advantage of the volcanic nature of the environment and would produce clean energy for the municipality and the surrounding area. It would also produce water without the fear of depleting reserves and without contamination.

President of Arllen Development, Pavol Matusik said his team had met several times with the Mayor and the municipal technical team and they had been working on the project for months. An agreement had been signed in January for the technical and feasibility studies.

The company has chosen the Canary Islands because of its tax advantages and its location as a triplatform, especially for its proximity to the African continent.

The Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) notes that although there are several low-temperature geothermal reservoirs in the country, whose energy is used for heating and hot water supply, there are no plants that take advantage of high-temperature deposits for electricity generation.

The only large areas with possibilities of existence of high temperature deposits are located in the Canary Islands, given its volcanic morphology, and in the southeast of the mainland.

The geothermal plant will use HDR (or hot dry rock) technology, which uses the heat contained in a geological formation of high temperature without any water content, by creating an artificial geothermal reservoir by drilling deep wells into the rock.

The water is injected from the surface into the well, where its temperature increases, and is then extracted as pressurized steam to generate electricity through turbines. By purifying and desalinating water at the same time with this energy, the plant has its own supply. This technology is very new and has already begun to be implemented in countries with limited natural reservoirs of steam, such as Germany, France, Australia, Japan and the UK.

This plant, therefore, will take advantage of the heat from a dry well and transform it into electrical energy, which will be sent to the conventional distribution network. At the same time, heat from the well will be distributed to the desalination plant, by vaporization, for desalination and proces-sing seawater into drinking water, which is also sent to the utility grid.

The third part of the project will be the construc-tion of a wastewater treat-ment plant for the houses of this municipality of nearly 20,000 inhabitants and the nearby industrial estate. The aim is to produce electricity and simultaneously produce fresh water for the island’s agriculture.

The site will occupy an area of approximately 200,000 square metres. The environmental impact study is scheduled to begin later this year and completed and processed in June 2016, so the work is expected to start late this year and be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

Arllen Development already runs similar projects in other countries and the Mayor has highlighted the company’s speed and efficiency. A technical team from the US, France and Germany has already visited to inspect the sites and the land purchase was finalised in March.

The old quarry has not been used since 2008 following 40 years of extractions.