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Private sector crucial in pushing geothermal development in the Eastern Caribbean

Drilling rig on project site, Dominica (source: Enorca)
Alexander Richter 31 Jan 2018

Securing funding is a major obstacle for geothermal development in the Eastern Caribbean, hence the private sector will have to play the main role in developing projects, but at the same time all stakeholders have to safeguard interest in fair electricity pricing, so a recent blog post.

In a great blog post on the website of the London School of Economics, Judith Ephraim of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) provides her view on how “geothermal energy can fuel the future of the Eastern Caribbean.”

Judith Ephraim is Programme Coodinator for the Sustainable Energy Unit of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission. She previously served as Chief Energy, Science, and Technology Officer to the Government of Saint Lucia. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Geoscience from the University of Bristol, UK, and an MSc in Resources Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany.

In the article she describes the challenges for small island developing states in spending a large part of their earnings on imported fossil fuels to meet energy demand, while at the same time having the great opportunities that lie in the availability of solar, wind and impressive geothermal options.

Naturally the baseload capacity of geothermal makes this type of energy very attractive, this paired with the volcanic origin of large parts of the Caribbean provide a great opportunity.

Currently, so the author, seven out of the ten members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States are pursuing geothermal energy projects.

She then describes the different islands and their ambitions, namely Montserrat, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, but also Grenada.

The OECS Commission conducted a stakeholder analysis in 2017, as we reported.

In the survey, financing and government policy were identified as the major challenges to the development of geothermal energy in the Eastern Caribbean, and seen as the main challenges to development in the region. These were followed closely by competition from other energy sources, and technological issues.

The majority of survey participants would like to see the establishment of a regional mechanism to support geothermal development in the region. The geothermal stakeholders are convinced that such a mechanism would be beneficial to the industry, especially as it relates to policy, legislation, and regulations.

Given the financial status of many of the islands, the private sector will have to play the main role in developing these projects.

“Eastern Caribbean states are seeking innovative financing options that will not negatively impact the electricity tariffs expected from geothermal generation.”, as this is also a concern.

Another “critical issue in future”, so Judith Ephraim, “will be successful negotiation of supply agreements with regard to concessions, timeframes, prices, and other regulations. These must ensure fair terms and conditions for all stakeholders. In this regard, national governments have a leading role to play in safeguarding the interests of the countries.”

For the full article see link below.

Source: Blog London School of Economics