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Caribbean St. Lucia pushing forward on 30 MW geothermal development

View over Soufriere, St. Lucia, Caribbean (source: flickr/ donnierayjones, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 25 Jan 2017

On a path to derive up to 50% of its energy from renewable energy sources, Caribbean island state St. Lucia is planning with a 30 MW geothermal project with the assistance of the World Bank, New Zealand and Ormat.

The IRENA General Assembly earlier this month brought together more than 75 ministers and participants from 150 and more countries. Among them were a lot of smaller island nations, including St. Lucia’s Minister for Infrastructure, Ports, Energy and Labour, Stepehenson King from St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

On the sidelines of the event, he reported that St. Lucia is making slow, but steady progress in its renewable energy transition plan. The Caribbean island is hoping to achieve a target of 35 percent renewables by 2035.

“We are also hoping that by the year 2023, with the various components of renewable energy – wind, solar and geothermal – that we will be able to achieve at least 50 percent of the target set for 2035,” King told Caribbean News Service (CNS).

“We have done a fair amount. It is not an aggressive move but it is a steady move. And with even greater efforts within the various departments responsible for energy, we are hoping that we can make the necessary transition to the 35 percent by 2035.”

Currently a wind farm, with a potential capacity of 12 MW, is being set up on the island. In April 2015, residents witnessed the erection of a test tower to help assess the potential for the construction of the wind farm – the first utility scale renewable energy project for the country.

The island is also continuing to work with the World Bank, the government of New Zealand and an Israeli geothermal company on a long-awaited geothermal project. The company referred to here is Ormat, as we have reported before.

“As you know St. Lucia has the sulphur springs and we do have the potential for geothermal energy. What we have not been able to ascertain is the sustainability of that potential and to be integrated into the national grid. However, with the necessary World Bank assistance we are now on the verge, and hopefully later this year, active exploration will proceed to generate at least 30 MW of electricity,” King said.

“There is also a (3.2 MW) solar farm which the utility company is actively engaged in setting up in the south of the country pretty close to the international airport.”

“One of the greatest successes of St. Lucia is the fact that we have been able to bring the utility company, which is not a public-owned corporation, they have come to the table and they are involved. The utility company has certainly come to the table and have been participating in a very meaningful way in all of the discussions and understands its role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewables,” King added.

Source: Caribbean News Service