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Nevis to guarantee US$57m for geothermal project by West Indies Power

West Indies Power's geothermal effort on stamp issued by the Nevis administration on occasion of the country's 25 years of independence (source: WIP)
Alexander Richter 30 Apr 2011

The national assembly of Nevis Island approves a resolution guaranteeing a $57 million loan sought by West Indies Power from the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) for the construction of a 8.5 MW power plant in this island state in the Caribbean.

Caribbean 360 reports that “the Nevis Island Assembly has approved a resolution guaranteeing a US$57 million loan that is being sought by West Indies Power (Nevis) from the United States Government’s Export Import (Ex-Im) Bank for the construction of an 8.5 megawatt (MW) power plant in Spring Hill.

The passage of the resolution follows a recent high-level visit of officials from Ex-Im Bank –including its vice president John Schuster, senior loan officer Uduak Essien, attorney Michaela Ricchiute, and Financial Advisor Chris Dymond – to complete Ex-Im’s evaluation of the Nevis Geothermal Project.

Finance Minister and Premier Joseph Parry, who moved the resolution, said the geothermal project is “unprecedented in the eyes of the people of this part of the hemisphere, in the eyes of the people of CARICOM and the OECS and specifically for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis”.

“It will not only impact on government’s revenues, but it will bring down the cost of energy on the island, it should impact on prices in the business sector, and it should serve as an attraction to businesses and certainly in terms of green energy and a green country, it will make Nevis an exceptional place in the world,” he said.

Energy Minister Carlisle Powell said that approving the resolution would unlock millions of dollars in financing for one of the most important projects in the history of Nevis.

“Geothermal development is important for the two islands because it would help insulate them from the high and variable costs of distillate and reduce CO2 emissions. St. Kitts and Nevis would benefit from large savings in the region of US$159 million from geothermal developments on Nevis and an interconnection to St. Kitts,” Powell said.

“The savings are much higher than the increased cost associated with developing the plant and the interconnection and those were put at around US$100 million.”

Powell also noted that the realization of the Geothermal Project will also open up a US$1 billion industry, larger than even the tourism and offshore financial services, in the export of electricity to neighboring countries including Puerto Rico.

President Barrack Obama’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status recently recommended “to advance discussions in the Caribbean region on the potential for subsea electrical interconnection under the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, the Department of State, through a grant to the Organization of American States (OAS), should fund a pre-feasibility study to examine an interconnection between Puerto Rico and St. Kitts and Nevis.”

Premier Parry was invited and will meet with Puerto Rico Energy officials to continue ongoing discussions of the export of electricity to Puerto Rico in early May.”

Source: Caribbean360