Energy potential near La Soufriere volcano – PM
January 18, 2013

Energy potential near La Soufriere volcano – PM

Hot water near La Soufriere volcano is the “real game-changer” in this country’s pursuit of sources of renewable and efforts to reduce electricity costs.{{more}}

Further, these geothermal resources could potentially increase the competitiveness of Vincentian products and services regionally and internationally, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said in his Budget Address on Monday.

A National Renewable Energy Lab study in April 2012 found “evidence of hot geothermal fluids from hot springs on the southwest flanks of Soufriere.

“Geochemistry indicates that these waters are connected to a much hotter, deeper source; and there is ample evidence of temperatures inside the Soufriere volcano far exceeding those required for geothermal systems,” Gonsalves told Parliament and media audiences.

But he also said there are still “many geological uncertainties regarding the location, depth, spatial extent, lateral continuity and flow capacity of the inferred hydrothermal reservoir.”

Additional research, he said, “is likely to be required to quantify the extent of the sufficiency of the geothermal resource, before considering development of a field and construction of an energy conversion plant.”

Gonsalves said his government’s geothermal initiative “is exciting and possesses the potential to transform for the better, life and production in St Vincent and the Grenadines, with cleaner, cheaper, sustainable energy.

“My government shall pursue it with vigour, purpose, and commitment. Its possibilities are enormous, but it takes time to achieve … St Vincent and the Grenadines can be a ‘green’ country, from an energy standpoint, within a decade,” Gonsalves said.

He said a central policy of Unity Labour Party government is “to deliver to businesses and households, cleaner, cheaper, sustainable and renewable energy in sufficient quantities for modern living and production.

“Because energy is a scarce and expensive commodity, for which there is a high demand globally, it is incumbent on us, too, to produce energy efficiently and economically; and those who use it must strive to engender optimal savings. Given the signal importance of energy to modern living and production, it commands a pivotal place in the public policy of my government,” the prime minister told Parliament.

And opposition legislator Daniel Cummings on Wednesday noted some persons’ fears that exploration for renewable energy could have an untoward impact on the volcano.

“Those may not necessary be founded but, again, the approach on this needs to be all- encompassing … In the science, there is always possibility, one can never be sure, so I speak as a technical person with an element of caution,” Cummings, an engineer, said during the Budget Debate.

“But the point I am making, in proceeding, we need to be open and candid. We need to involve all sectors of the society and go step by step for determining and going forward. I pray to God that this exercise will be given the seriousness that it deserves,” he further said. (