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Work carried out by the Ecuadorian army's polytechnic school Espe has pegged the country's geothermal potential at 500MW.
Efforts to tap this energy source began in the late 1970s with early studies but gained new impetus in recent years as authorities have placed more weight on renewables to diversify the generation park.
To this end, state power generation holding company Celec last year issued calls for bids to carry out initial prefeasibility studies for geothermal projects Chacana and Chachimbiro.
The contracts were awarded to local consultancy firm Servicios & Remediación Serviremediación which has eight months to carry out the works, according to Celec documents.
Results will be used to draft geothermal conceptual models, and quantify reserves and identify locations for deep exploration wells in an advanced prefeasibility studies phase.
Chacana spans provinces Napo and Pichincha, and Chachimbiro lies in Imbabura province. The power and renewable energy ministry has prioritized the areas in its geothermal development plan.
The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean has highlighted the lack of accurate, updated technical and economic information as one of the barriers to developing Ecuador's geothermal potential.