Costa Rica is to expand its geothermal generating capacity with a new project to be executed by US-based Ormat Technologies.

Ormat has signed a contract with Banco Centroamericano de Integracion Economica (BCIE) to supply and supervise the installation, start-up and testing of a new geothermal power plant in Las Pailas Field, Costa Rica. The plant is scheduled for completion in 2010 and will add 35 MW to the country’s grid.

The Las Pailas geothermal plant will be operated by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), the Costa Rican national electricity and telecoms company. The country currently operates a total of 162.5 MW of geothermal capacity from the large Miravalles geothermal field.

Ormat’s contract is valued at $65 million. The company supplied and is operating the Miravalles V plant, an 18 MW binary geothermal facility in Costa Rica.

“We are very pleased to receive this repeat contract for a geothermal project in Costa Rica and to be able to contribute to the country’s effort to move closer to independence from fossil energy sources,” said Dita Bronicki, CEO of Ormat Technologies.

Ormat recently announced that it had secured project financing of up to $105 million to refinance its investment in the 48 MW Olkaria III geothermal plant in Naivasha, Kenya. It completed the second, 35 MW phase of the project in December 2008 and the plant is selling its output to Kenya Power & Light Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Las Pailas will mark Ormat’s fifth geothermal power plant either erected or upgraded in Central America. The new plant will use water-cooled condensers and the high-performance, high-efficiency organic turbine developed by Ormat for geothermal and recovered-energy applications.