September 2, 2014

SVG’s geothermal energy research on to next stage

Work is about to commence on the next stage to determine the potential for geothermal energy in the area of La Soufriere volcano.{{more}}

Reykjavik Geothermal (RG) of Iceland and Light & Power Holdings (LPH) of Barbados, the two energy companies engaged by the Government of St Vincent & the Grenadines to assist with assessment of the country’s geothermal potential said in a release that this more detailed phase of the project will commence in early September and follows a preliminary assessment completed in late 2013.

“Experts from RG will be on island to place sensors around La Soufriere volcano. No drilling is required, and no drilling is being done at this time. Additionally, due to the rough terrain and the difficulty experienced in accessing some areas, an aircraft with specialised equipment will be flying over the area of La Soufriere to map possible locations for geothermal development. These flights are scheduled to take place in September.

“This phase of the project will also include an infrastructural assessment and a risk assessment. RG and LPH, in collaboration with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, will develop and present for approval a plan to mitigate the environmental impacts related to geothermal development. This will be done before any production wells are drilled and before a generating facility is built,” the release said.

According to the release, LPH and RG are providing all of the funds for this phase of the project, which is estimated to cost about US$1.3 Million. It is anticipated that, if all goes well, RG and LPH will present results of the geothermal assessment and a project business plan to the Government in June 2015. This plan will identify where drilling should be undertaken at which time further public consultations will take place to inform residents of the plan. It should be noted that any decisions will be taken in cooperation with the Government of St Vincent & the Grenadines, which maintains final approval for the project. The Clinton Foundation (Clinton Climate Initiative) is providing advice on commercial negotiations for the project.

LPH and RG consider that a geothermal plant of between 5 and 15 megawatts may be possible and that the electricity supplied to VINLEC would significantly reduce St Vincent’s dependence on imported diesel fuel and help stabilize energy costs for residents and businesses in St Vincent.

RG is a development company based in Iceland, where geothermal energy is well proved and has been a reality for many years. RG team has built some of the biggest geothermal plants in the world and was recently awarded contract by the Government of Ethiopia to develop a geothermal plant there. LPH, and its parent company Emera Inc. from Canada, operate utilities and have built and operated electricity generation facilities.