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IFC-Backed Geothermal Plant Promotes Renewable Energy, Fights Climate Change In Nicaragua


In Washington, D.C.:
Zibu Sibanda

Phone: 202-473-0605                                                      

E-mail:
zsibanda@ifc.org

Adriana Gomez

Phone: 202-458-5204

E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org


Washington, D.C. November 8, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing $50 million and mobilizing an additional $140 million to support the construction of Nicaragua’s largest greenfield geothermal power project in more than 25 years—an initiative that will promote the development of renewable energy, expand electrification, and help reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil.

The funds will be invested in Polaris Energy Nicaragua, S.A., which is building the 72-megawatt power plant in San Jacinto. The investment is IFC’s first in a geothermal project that integrates resource development and power generation.

Expected to cost nearly $370 million, the San Jacinto plant will provide almost 20 percent of Nicaragua’s power needs and help the government further its strategy of developing domestic renewable energy sources.

Currently, 70 percent of Nicaragua’s power is generated from fossil fuels, which are expensive and pollute the environment. The new plant in northwestern Nicaragua will lower the country’s dependence on imported oil to 50 percent, cut high energy costs, and promote further electrification.

Hezy Ram, CEO of Ram Power Corporation, the project’s developer, said the investment “represents yet another milestone in Ram Power’s plan to provide clean geothermal energy to Nicaragua.”

 “The San Jacinto project, IFC’s first investments in a vertically integrated geothermal power project, furthers our regional development strategy,” said Bernie Sheahan, IFC Director for Infrastructure in Latin America. “Its successful implementation has great significance for Central America, which could increase its renewable energy generation significantly by developing geothermal resources, which are cleaner and cheaper than existing alternatives.”

Geothermal energy is one of the few renewable energy technologies that can supply continuous and reliable base load power at a competitive cost. As such, geothermal power has the potential to play a significant role in moving many regions around the world toward cleaner, more sustainable energy. Geothermal resources are abundant in Central America and could potentially meet a large percentage of the region’s electricity needs.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit  www.ifc.org.

About IFC and Renewables

Addressing climate-change mitigation is an IFC priority that is reflected in our achievements in renewable energy. In fiscal 2010, we increased our investments in renewable energy to 72 percent of commitments in the power sector, up from 28 percent in fiscal 2008. Since 2005, IFC has financed more than $2.3 billion in renewable energy projects.

About Ram Power

Ram Power is a renewable energy company based in Reno, Nevada, engaged in the business of acquiring, exploring, developing, and operating geothermal properties. Ram Power has an interest in geothermal projects, primarily in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.