Although renewable energy is our target market, our core competency is in geothermal exploration and development. In addition to American geoscientists and engineers, our international staff possesses unparalleled diversification and expertise. We have worldwide experience that few other companies can offer. DG is geographically centered in the United States of America with key offices and representatives in Latin America and Europe.
Assistance on Geothermal Development Planning
IDB was looking to initiate a geothermal risk-mitigation fund in Colombia to support the nascent industry. However, before investment could be justified the local regulatory authorities needed help assessing the environmental and social impacts of geothermal development.
DG provided capacity building and expert advice to Corpocaldas, the regulatory body authorized to oversee geothermal activity in the region. The project included a six-day workshop to assist the environmental authority of Caldas, a thorough improvement of the existing terms of reference related to all aspects of geothermal development, and a review of the development plans submitted for permitting from Colombia’s biggest electrical utilities.
DG reviewed technical information submitted to Corpocaldas and trained its staff on the geothermal development process, environmental and social impacts, and specific measures to mitigate anticipated effects. This has allowed IDB to move their Colombian risk-mitigation fund forward by ensuring that proper regulatory safeguards are in place to meet development goals
Geothermal Development Facility Fund Management Latin America
KfW is a world leader in providing and operating geothermal risk-mitigation funds around the world. KfW ran an international RFP to contract the creation and operation of its Geothermal Risk Mitigation Fund for Latin America (GDF).
DG was competitively selected as Fund Manager by the risk-mitigation facility team from the European Union and KfW for the Latin America GDF, to promote the development of geothermal projects (surface studies or confirmation drilling) in ten countries of the region. DG developed the process and procedures required for applicants to apply for funding through the GDF. DG’s fund management also includes monitoring of all geothermal exploration activities funded through the GDF, including geophysics, geology, geochemistry, and exploration-drilling activities.
Since the inception of GDF, the fund has solicited applications for over €80M in projects, representing over €2B of potential development investment. It is the goal of GDF to facilitate the addition of 350MW of new geothermal power to electrical grids across Latin America, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing Colombia’s energy security through grid diversification.
Geothermal Exploration of the Nereidas Valley
Colombia’s second-largest utility, EPM, required assistance in developing a geothermal resource near the Nevado del Ruiz volcanic complex. This site has been studied, to various degrees and with various levels of success, for the past fifty years.
The work scope consisted of geothermal reconnaissance studies, including a preliminary Spectral Spatial Analysis (SPAN), to identify the area’s geothermal potential, followed by field studies consisting of a high-resolution magnetotelluric survey, geological mapping, geochemistry, and conceptual modeling. These studies were combined with a socio-economic analysis and community-outreach project to inform the local population on geothermal energy development and highlight its benefits.
DG’s surface studies helped define the resource to enable EPM to target exploratory drilling locations for Phase 2 and define the boundaries of their exploration and development permit. The work conducted in Phase 1 ultimately lead to the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) providing grant funding for the Phase 2 Feasibility Study.
Detailed Geophysical Study and Feasibility of the Nereidas Valley Geothermal area
Following the positive results from Phase 1, EPM was awarded a grant from USTDA to conduct a Feasibility Study on further development at the site.
DG was contracted to perform detailed geoscientific, engineering (drilling and civil), environmental, social, and economic studies at EPM’s development sites. These studies included gravity, magnetics, and Shallow Temperature Probe (STP) surveys. LiDAR imagery was also used to prepare several studies on civil work and validate the structural geology of the study area. DG prepared a 3D model and a detailed technical and economic feasibility study of the geothermal resource, and used this to select the most promising drilling targets and prepare associated development plans and budget estimates.
The feasibility study was used by EPM to plan the exploratory drilling program and permits. The report was used to apply for permits and was the basis of EPM’s application for funding to the GDF.
Assessment and Evaluation of Geothermal Assets
In 2015 the Mexican government deregulated the county’s electrical market and, by association, the country’s state-run geothermal developer. This developer required an inventory and valuation of their geothermal assets to develop an efficient deregulation process. The project was part of an assistance package provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) to assist the Mexican government reform its energy market.
DG reviewed thirty-four existing concessions, at various stages of development, as well as four power plant projects. DG also assisted a Mexican government agency to establish a regulatory-reforms strategy to encourage private development in the geothermal energy sector.
Through collaboration with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), DG provided technical expertise to evaluate the concessions and existing power plants. DG evaluated each site individually to estimate its value and integrate it into a final portfolio. These assets were categorized according to priority and favorability for development, for the client to initiate an action plan and determine which assets to keep, auction, or discard.
Feasibility Study in the Mojave Desert and in the Basin and Range Province
The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) required an assessment and resource evaluation of six geothermal concession assets within their portfolio.
DG conducted comprehensive, double-blind Low-frequency Magnetotelluric (LMT) and Broadband Magnetotelluric (BMT) soundings at over five hundred stations across six independent survey sites, covering a total surface area of 45km2. DG prepared all the resistivity data collection and analysis (1-D, 2-D, 2.5-D, and 3-D OCCAM inversions), as well as geologic interpretation for the project. Results included the identification of multiple drilling-target locations and perhaps the longest observed magnetotelluric profile available for this area, covering over 85km in length.
Results were delivered in near–real-time, and the entire survey was completed in 135 days. Following the survey and submission of results, SNWA has successfully test-drilled and confirmed target sites identified by DG.