Top 10 Titans of Geothermal Energy Plants in the World

Geothermal Power Plant. Source : Fuji Electric Global

  • Two Geothermal Power Plants are located in Indonesia.
  • Geothermal Power Plants are increasingly being developed by various countries.
  • Geothermal Power Plants are present as one solution in the energy transition policy.

In the vast landscape of renewable energy sources, geothermal power plants emerge as stalwart champions, leveraging the Earth’s inherent heat to generate electricity. These powerhouses stand as towering symbols of human ingenuity and technological prowess, harnessing the planet’s geothermal resources to meet the ever-growing global demand for clean energy.

Among the myriad geothermal installations scattered across the globe, a select few stand out for their remarkable scale and capacity. As we delve into the top ten largest geothermal energy plants on Earth, we embark on a journey of discovery, unraveling the intricacies of their design, operation, and the profound impact they have on our quest for a greener, more sustainable world.

From the geothermal-rich landscapes of Indonesia and the Philippines to the volcanic terrain of Iceland and the United States, these formidable geothermal power plants are strategically located in regions abundant with natural heat reservoirs. As we marvel at their engineering feats, we also acknowledge their role as catalysts for environmental conservation and global energy transition towards a more sustainable future.

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1. The Geysers Geothermal Complex, US

The Geysers. Source : Wikipedia

The Geysers Geothermal Complex is located in California’s Mayacamas Mountains, covering 45 square miles between Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties. It is the world’s largest energy-producing geothermal field, comprising of 22 geothermal power plants with an installed capacity of 1,517 MW. The first commercial geothermal well was drilled in 1955, and the first modern geothermal power plant was put into commercial operation in 1960.

Most of the power plants within The Geysers are owned and operated by Calpine, and the area is considered one of the most reliable sources of green power in California. The steam used at The Geysers is produced from a greywacke sandstone reservoir, capped by a heterogeneous mix of low permeability rocks and underlain by a silicic intrusion.

Heat for the steam reservoir comes from a large molten rock chamber, spanning over seven kilometers beneath the ground, and the reservoir is now recharged by injecting recycled wastewater from the city of Santa Rosa and the Lake County. Ram Power is constructing a new geothermal power plant within the region, which is set to commence operations in 2013 with a net installed capacity of 26 MW.

 2. Larderello Geothermal Complex, Italy

Larderello Geothermal Energy Power Plant. Source : Power Technology

The Larderello Geothermal Complex, located in Tuscany, Italy, is renowned for its geothermal productivity and is the site of the world’s oldest geothermal power plant. The complex covers an area of about 250 km² and contains 180 wells. Larderello produces approximately 4,800 GWh of electricity per year, which powers about a million Italian households.

The region is unique due to its hot granite rocks lying unusually close to the surface, producing steam as hot as 202 °C (396 °F). The Larderello power plant was the first in the world, with its first generator lighting four light bulbs in 1904.

The plant was expanded in 1911 and completed in 1913, with a capacity of 250 kW, eventually growing to 800 MW. Larderello is now part of the oldest and most innovative geothermal complex in the world, along with 33 other plants, and helps Italy become the sixth-largest producer of geothermal energy.

 3. Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station, Mexico

Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station. Source : bnamericas

The Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station is located in Baja California, Mexico, and is the world’s largest complex of geothermal power stations in terms of overall size and the second-largest in terms of energy output. The facility consists of five individual units, named CP1 through CP5, with a total installed capacity of 820 MW.

CP1 has a total installed capacity of 180 MW, generated by four units of 37.5 MW and one unit of 30 MW. CP2 and CP3 have a total installed capacity of 220 MW each, generated by two identical units of 110 MW. CP4 consists of four turbines, each with a capacity of 25 MW, and CP5 consists of two 50 MW units.

The Cerro Prieto Geothermal Power Station is a liquid-dominated field, contained in sedimentary rocks, and is owned and operated by Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), a state-owned company in charge of generating, transmitting, and distributing electrical energy in Mexico.

 4. Makban Geothermal Complex, Philippines

Makban Geothermal Power Plant. Source : ThinkGeoenergy

The Mak-Ban Geothermal Power Plant is a 458-MW geothermal power station complex located in Laguna and Batangas, Philippines. It was developed to exploit the geothermal resources of the Mak-Ban or Bulalo field and was commissioned in 1979. The facility and the geothermal field are named after the Makiling and Banahaw mountains.

The plant is owned and operated by AP Renewables, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, and is a prominent renewable energy developer in the Philippines. The Mak-Ban Geothermal Power Plant has a significant impact on the region’s power generation, with a nameplate capacity of 458 MW. Mitsubishi Power, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has been involved in upgrading the plant to optimize its performance and minimize geothermal steam consumption per power output.

 5. CalEnergy Generation’s Salton Sea Geothermal Plants, USA

Imperial Valley Geothermal Project. Source : Wikipedia

CalEnergy Generation’s Salton Sea Geothermal Plants are a cluster of 10 generating geothermal plants located in Calipatria, near the Salton Sea in Southern California’s Imperial Valley. These plants have a combined generating capacity of 340 MW and have been in operation since the 1980s, with most plants built during that decade.

The Salton Sea Geothermal Field is the second-largest geothermal field in the United States, with an estimated 2,950 MW of geothermal potential. The Salton Sea Geothermal Complex is also known for its potential to supply lithium, with estimates suggesting that the earth below the southern Salton Sea contains a unique brine that could supply 40% of global lithium demand.

 6. Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, Iceland

Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Project. Source : Renewable Technology

The Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant is a flash steam combined heat and power (CHP) plant located at Hengill in southwest Iceland. It is the eighth-largest geothermal power station in the world and the largest in Iceland. The plant generates 303 MW of electricity and 400 MW of thermal energy.

The power plant was commissioned in five phases, from 2006 to 2011, and is owned and operated by Orkuveita Reykjavíkur. The Hellisheidi geothermal power plant is scheduled to achieve 133 MWth by 2030.

 7. Tiwi Geothermal Complex, Philippines

Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant. Source : Aboitiz power

The Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant is a 234-MW geothermal power station located in Tiwi, Albay, Philippines. The plant was commissioned in 1979 and is owned and operated by AP Renewables, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power. The Tiwi geothermal field has an installed capacity of 275 MWe and is the world’s first water-dominated geothermal system to produce more than 160 MWe.

The plant consists of four operational units and one unit planned for construction, which will add 17 MW to the existing capacity. The Tiwi Geothermal Power Plant is divided into four geographical areas: Naglagbong, Kapipihan, Matalibong, and Bariis.

 8. Malitbog Geothermal Power Station, Philippines

Malitbog Geothermal Power Station. Source : ThinkGeoenergy

The Malitbog Geothermal Power Station is a 232.5 MW geothermal power plant located in Malitbog, Kananga, Leyte, Philippines. It is the eighth largest geothermal power plant in the world and the largest geothermal power plant under one roof in the Philippines.

The power plant is one of four operating in the Leyte Geothermal Production Field and serves 10 million households in Visayas with an average of 160 kWh per household per month. The Malitbog Geothermal Power Station is owned by the Energy Development Corporation and has been operating since 1996.

 9. Wayang Windu Geothermal Power Plant, Indonesia

Wayang Windu Geothermal Power Plant. Source : Aecom

The Wayang Windu Geothermal Power Plant is the largest geothermal power station in Indonesia, with a nameplate capacity of 354 MW. The plant consists of two operational units, one with a capacity of 110 MW and the other with a capacity of 117 MW, for a total installed capacity of 227 MW.

A third unit with a capacity of 127 MW is planned to come online by mid-2013, bringing the total plant capacity to 354 MW. The Wayang Windu Geothermal Power Plant is located in West Java, Indonesia, and is owned by Star Energy Geothermal.

 10. Darajat Power Station, Indonesia

Darajat Geothermal Power Station. Source : Our Trace

The Darajat Geothermal Power Station is a 271 MW geothermal power plant located in District Pasirwangi, Garut, West Java, Indonesia. The complex consists of three operational units, with a nameplate capacity of 55 MW (Unit I), 95 MW (Unit II), and 121 MW (Unit III).

The Darajat Geothermal Power Station is the eighth largest geothermal power station in the world and serves the Bali and Java provinces of Indonesia. The power plant is owned by Star Energy Geothermal and is operated by Darajat GPP Amoseas Indonesia.

These ten geothermal power plants stand as shining beacons of human ingenuity and environmental stewardship. As we continue to harness the Earth’s natural resources in pursuit of sustainable development, let us look to these giants of geothermal energy as inspiration for a cleaner, greener future.

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Editor: Alvin Pratama

Referensi :


[2] The Geysers Geothermal Field, California

[3] Power plant profile: Cerro Prieto IV, Mexico

[4] Wayang Windu Geothermal Plant, Indonesia

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