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    Dominica Commits to Geothermal

    By Keith R | October 19, 2008

    Topics: Energy & the Environment, Renewable Sources | No Comments »

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    From the Government of Dominica:

    Dominica Forging Ahead With Geothermal Resource Development

    The Government of Dominica in collaboration with the European Union, The Regional Council of Guadeloupe, the Agence Francaise de Developpement and other French development partners is forging head with plans to exploit the country’s geothermal resource. This information came to light at the first Project Steering Committee Meeting for the Geothermal project held recently.

    The Meeting was attended by Minister for Energy, Hon. Charles Savarin, Permanent Secretary, Mr. Vincent Philbert, Senior Project Officer in the Ministry of Public Utilities, Mr. Michael Fadelle, National Authorizing Officer of the European Development Fund, Mr. Edward Lambert, Mr. Paul Mondesir from the Office of the European Commission in Barbados and officials from DOMLEC, the Independent Regulatory Commission and the Private Sector.

    The Government of Dominica is pursuing the development of the country’s geothermal resource in two phases. The first, the preliminary phase, is entitled: Geothermal Energy in the Caribbean Islands. A transnational partnership agreement with the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, the Regional Council of Martinique and other French development partners financed under INTERREG III B, was signed in April, 2008. Funding under INTERREG III B is coming from regional development funds from the European Union.

    According to Hon. Charles Savarin, this preliminary phase of the project involves geological, geophysical and geochemical analyses and related environmental and feasibility studies of the geothermal resource in Dominica.

    A report due by the end of November, 2008 is expected to provide the following information:

    The second phase, the more comprehensive one, is entitled: “Preparation of a Geothermal-Based Cross Border Electrical Interconnection in the Caribbean.” It is being financed by the European Union, the Agence Francaise de Developpement and the Fonds Francais pour L’ Environment Mondial (FFEM).

    The sum of 1.5 million Euros is expected to come from the European Union. 2 million Euros will come from AFD, 2 million EUROS from FFEM and a possible 3 million Euros from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

    The Financing Agreement with the European Commission for this phase of the project was signed in January, 2008. It is a three year project and is intended to achieve the following:

    In his remarks at the meeting, Hon. Savarin reiterated a statement he made earlier this year that the exploitation of the geothermal resource “could become the most important economic activity on the island for decades to come.”

    “This is the most significant development programme for Dominica. It is as if we have discovered oil, onshore or offshore and we were in the process of seeking to exploit that resource,” the Minister stated.

    The Minister added that the geothermal project is intended to transform Dominica from a high price supplier of electricity to one of the lowest cost providers in the region, a major boost for existing operators and potential investors. It is also meant to at least minimize the country’s dependence on petroleum based products.

    The Minister made the salient point that the total commitment of 8.5 million Euros leads to, but does not cover, the commercial exploitation of Dominica’s geothermal resource. It is expected that it would cost in the region of US$350 million for the full commercial exploitation of the resource.

    By the end of the European Union funded project, the Government is expected to have all the technical, economic and financial information to interest potential investors in exploiting the geothermal resource of Dominica. The intention of Government is to develop a Public/Private partnership for the development of the island’s geothermal resource.

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