Dominica has been ranked as number one in geothermal development in the Caribbean, Minister for Public Works, Energy and Ports, Rayburn Blackmoore, has announced.
According to Blackmore this ranking was received by the island at a recent Caribbean conference on Renewable Energy, which he attended in Aruba.
“At this Caribbean Conference in Aruba on renewable energy, which brought about so many different countries and stakeholders to the fore, and all the programs and projects being formulated by various member states and organizations and then a ranking process was undertaken and I’m pleased to say to you that Dominica has been ranked number one in the entire Caribbean for doing the best in terms of accelerating a plan to developing geothermal and whereby having a more diverse energy sector,” he told a seminar on energy efficiency and renewable energy at the Fort Young Hotel on Monday.
He pointed out that talks about geothermal development in Dominica can be dated to as far back as 1969 when a report was done by the United Nations identifying the island as having the potential to become the greatest player in geothermal development in the Caribbean.
“Subsequent to that, in 1974, an Act was passed in Parliament, called the Geothermal Resource Act, and that was passed to give credence to that regard in so far as geothermal development is concerned,” he explained. “In 2003 and 2008, studies were undertaken in the Roseau Valley catchment area that gave an estimate as to the presence of that resource in that area. We have gone past just studies and we have been able to embark on tangible action to developing that resource.”
The minister pointed out further that the test wells and scientific analysis has proven that the resource is viable. According to him the drilling of two full sized wells will be undertaken by an Icelandic company at the end of October at Laudat and Trafalgar.
“We as a Government and as a people have put in place several initiatives to give concessions to any company or group who intends to embark on any project that is geared to renewable or energy efficient undertakings,” he noted.
Blackmoore also indicated that the government is about to embark on a national street lighting project where 5,000 solar powered street lights will be installed. 2,500 street lights will be installed initially.
“We have been able to get the support by way of grants funding from the Government of China and it is a total package that entails not only the actual installation of the street lights but the training components for the maintenance and installation components of that project. We are hoping before the end of this year to see the actual commencement of that project,” he said.
He noted that emphasis is not placed on solar and wind energy since geothermal offers a more sustainable future while solar and wind is an intermittent renewable program. Blackmore mentioned that the government however, supports the members of the private sector who take full advantage of solar and wind energy.
$31-million has been secured by way of grant funding in addition to 6.5-million Euros from the French Government for the drilling of the two wells, according to Blackmoore.