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New EU grant to risk mitigation program to help Caribbean geothermal development

Drilling rig on project site, Dominica (source: Enorca)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 23 Nov 2017

With $14 million in EU funding a new Geothermal Risk Mitigation Program has been initiated to help five Eastern Caribbean countries to develop geothermal energy projects.

A new Geothermal Risk Mitigation Programm for the Eastern Caribbean has been set up with funding by the European Union, as announced earlier this week. The EUR 12 million ($14 million) funding will help five Caribbean countries on their geothermal development efforts.

It will help to facilitate develoment of up to 60 MW of geothermal capacity in Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The agreement was signed on behalf of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), by Dr Warren Smith and the Commissioner in charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica.

“The programme will help to increase renewable energies in the Caribbean by supporting the development of geothermal energy,” said Mimica, adding that the grant will serve to jump start geothermal development through co-financing for higher-risk investments required at the early stage services of exploratory drilling which could leverage additional financing of approximately Euro 400 million.

“It will decrease dependency on energy imports – reducing fuel import bills, electricity costs and help to decrease greenhouse gases emissions and other pollutants,” Mimica added.

Smith said that the CDB welcomes the EU-CIF’s contribution to geothermal energy development in the Eastern Caribbean.

“This funding will add momentum to our on-going efforts to transform the energy sector in the Region, and support our borrowing member countries in harnessing their renewable energy resources. The signing of this agreement represents a strengthening partnership between CDB and the European Union.

“We look forward to collaborating further to support economic growth and competitiveness, and creating a more sustainable future for the people of our region,” he added.

It said that geothermal energy would relieve these five states from oil imports, by up to 722 000 barrels per year, as well as lower current electricity prices. Additionally, it is a clean and renewable energy technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change mitigation.

The funding will be used to provide investment grants at the exploration phase, as well as technical assistance to support capacity-building initiatives and studies that explore opportunities for, and the feasibility of, interconnection between islands to facilitate the export of electricity by geothermal energy producers, the CDB added.

Commissioner Mimica said: “The Programme will help to increase renewable energies in the Caribbean by supporting the development of geothermal energy. The EU grant contribution of €12 million will serve to jump start geothermal development through co-financing for higher-risk investments required at the early stage services of exploratory drilling, within a programme, which could leverage additional financing of approximately €400 million. It will decrease dependency on energy imports – reducing fuel import bills, electricity costs and help to decrease greenhouse gases emissions and other pollutants”.

Source: NationNews, EU at the UN