July 24, 2015
Geothermal energy exploration safe, once done properly – Dr Robertson

Geothermal energy exploration, once done properly, is fairly safe and one of the positive things that comes with having a volcano.

This was stated by Dr Richard Robertson, director of the Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus {{more}}as he addressed a press conference last Wednesday at the headquarters of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). Robertson said there are other countries that use geothermal energy and there is no reason we should not do that in St Vincent and the Grenadines, but the project needs to be done properly.

Robertson said the volcanic processes in this country are happening tens of kilometres beneath the surface of the earth, while the geothermal exploration will happen at a shallow depth and is unlikely to affect what’s happening much deeper down.

He advised that the manager of the geothermal project should hire a public relations officer to speak to Vincentians to prevent misconceptions about the connection between the geothermal project and La Soufriere volcano.

Robertson, however, said that it is possible that geothermal projects can cause micro earthquakes and small events; therefore, when a country is developing a geothermal energy plant, a network should be installed to closely monitor the production of geothermal energy and the plant to pick up any kind of vibration that might happen.

He concluded by reiterating that volcanic areas tend to generate a lot of energy and if it is done properly, countries can explore the resources and utilize them. This, he said, is one of the positive aspects of volcanism.(JF)