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ST LUCIA is set to begin exploring the possibilities of geothermal energy in 2015.
Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Dr James Fletcher said that if successful, the country’s geothermal resource has the potential to produce about 50 per cent of the country’s energy demand.
“It all depends on what the exploration finds, but we believe that we can get as much as 30 megawatts, which is about 50 per cent of our demand right now,” he said. “We are looking at anywhere between a 15 and 30 megawatt plant for Soufriere.”
Government has reached an advanced stage in its negotiations with the developing company—Ormat Technologies Inc.
According to its company profile, Ormat is “a geothermal company with five decades of experience in the development of state-of-the-art, environmentally sound power solutions, primarily in geothermal and recovered energy generation.”
Fletcher said that the company is reputable, has developed resources all over the world, and has some of the best-run plants globally.
“We are very happy to be partnering with them,” he said. “Now we have a geothermal development agreement and have made significant progress between the developer and LUCELEC on the power purchase agreement. We have also been able to secure financing from the World Bank, SIDS DOCK and the Government of New Zealand.”
Last week, representatives from the World Bank, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the New Zealand Government visited Saint Lucia. The teams made presentations to senior government officials from the ministries that will be integrally involved in facilitating the island’s geothermal development, and also discussed public engagement strategies, employment, technical training opportunities and the risks associated with the project.
The Geothermal Resource Development Project has the potential to provide a steady base-load of electricity and stabilize energy prices. Surface exploration will begin in early 2015, Fletcher said. (PR)