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MHI, Hitachi Venture Eyes Africa, Latin America for Geothermal

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Ltd., a venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd., is eyeing Africa and Latin America to export its geothermal turbines, hoping to supply equipment for projects backed by Japan’s aid agency.

The company, which announced winning an order in October to supply a 55-MW turbine for a project in Costa Rica, is looking at countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Ecuador, Yoshio Minato, geothermal area manager for Yokohama-based MHPS, said in an interview. In Asia, the venture is focusing on the Philippines and Indonesia, according to Minato.

“Drilling and exploration technologies have been improving on accuracy, and we expect the number of geothermal surveys will increase as countries explore their best energy mix” after the landmark Paris agreement to tackle climate change, Minato said.

Support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency has been key for geothermal projects abroad, Minato said. The agency has provided low-interest loans for the drilling of geothermal wells and construction.

“Geothermal wells cost a lot, and loans and coordination by JICA help us greatly to reduce risks,” Minato said.

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