Iceland company to conduct geothermal research at La Soufriere volcano
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November 5, 2013
Iceland company to conduct geothermal research at La Soufriere volcano

Over the next few weeks, scientists from the Iceland based power company Reykjavik Geothermal (RG), will be conducting surface work exploration here in St Vincent, as the next phase of the geothermal project rolls out.{{more}}

Chief operating officer (COO) of the company Gunnar Gunnarsson, during a press conference at Cabinet Room last week Friday, told listeners that beginning this week, for a period of about one month, his scientists would be in the La Soufriere mountains surveying the possibilities of setting up a geothermal power plant here.

Also present at the press conference were Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves; Jan Hartkey, Global Director of the Clinton Climate Initiative on Clean Energy; Peter Williams, Managing Director of Emera Light and Power of Barbados, along with other senior officials.

Gunnarsson pointed out that the results from the exploration would take some months to be analyzed, but he believes that the results would be positive.

“This is like hiking; they are just scientists walking around with some measuring devices and measuring the resistivity of the volcano, and by doing that, they would have indications on if there is a possible resource in the area.

“We are confident that there is, but first we have to do our measurements to confirm,” the COO said.

He said that by the first quarter of next year, the information would be in hand to answer the question of if the company should move forward.

“So, I look forward to continue working, I look forward to seeing the results from our research team coming over and we will have some more information next year about the possibilities.

“But up to now, it’s a research programme, and in the next year, we will have much more information about what is possible.”

Gunnarsson pointed out that his company, though young, is currently working on projects in other countries, including Ethiopia and Mexico.

He said that similar to his home Iceland, St Vincent and the Grenadines is a small, developing country, and the same way that geothermal energy has helped his country, it can do the same here.

Gunnarsson used the opportunity to put to rest fears that drilling on the volcano would cause any adverse environmental effects.

“Now, I know that people who don’t understand this technology would think that this could interfere with the environment or volcano, but I can assure you that in Iceland we have a great experience of decades of exploiting geothermal energy.

“We sometimes say that Iceland would not be where it is today if we were not utilizing this opportunity.

“We really look forward to developing our resources here and one of the reasons is that this is a developing nation just like Iceland, and geothermal, if it is there and can be utilized, can have a transformation effect on this nation, just like it did in Iceland.

“I come from a cold climate, so geothermal energy is heating up all houses in my country; it is producing one third of the electricity in our country, so about 65,700 megawatts are already online, and we have been drilling some of the volcanoes… we have about six power plants up and running, and we are planning to expand that industry in the coming years.

“So, we are here because we think there is an opportunity in St Vincent and my company Reykjavik Geothermal is a developing company looking at opportunities not only in the Caribbean but also in other places on the globe where there are active volcanoes, and where we think there is an opportunity in developing our plants.”

The company was slated to conduct consultations with communities that would be impacted by the upcoming research.