Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has revealed that government will go ahead alone in constructing a small geothermal plant in Dominica.
Speaking during the debate on the Geothermal Resources Development Bill in parliament on Monday, he said the government will take all risks associated with the construction of the facility.
“The government will go it alone with regards to this small plant,” he said.
Skerrit said over the past years the government has been in negotiations with different people on the project but things did not work out due to “other considerations.”
“There were some issues among themselves and they figure it might be in their interest not to proceed with the project,” he stated. “But what did this is that it gave us a better opportunity for the government and people of Dominica to not only own the resources but to own entirely the geothermal plant development.”
He remarked that government will take all risks associated with the project and will eventually make the company available to Dominicans via shares.
“What we’ve seen as a government is that the government of Dominica will take all the risks associated with construction of the plant,” the Prime Minister said. “Once the plant in constructed and we are selling to the grid, we will now invite Dominicans, because it is our intention to make available to the Dominican public about 50 percent of the company, even 100 pecent, to make a minimum of 50 percent available while way of shares in that company to the Dominican public.”
He said the government will be in the business of generating electricity with the intention of selling to DOMLEC and DOMLEC will pass it on to consumers.
The government has spent over $50-million exploring the island’s geothermal potential and there have been complaints in some quarters that the project has been placed on the back burner.
In September 2016, Dominica and New Zealand signed an EC$4-million Partnership Agreement to support the construction of a 7 MW geothermal power plant on the island.
In June 2016, during a visit to Dominica, UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of International Development, Baroness Sandip Verma, urged the government to “get on” with the much talked-about project, saying it should not be “left to be on the back burner for a long time.”
In April 2016, Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit emphasized the government’s commitment to the harnessing and development of geothermal energy in Dominica.
In March 2015, Energy Minister Ian Douglas said that a draft Geothermal Bill, which will govern the exploration, development and exploitation of power that will be generated from the country’s geothermal resources, is nearing completion.
He stated that it is ready to be taken to cabinet for “final blessing,” adding that the geothermal program is well on its way.
Douglas said a construction of a small geothermal plant is to begin by 2017.
In 2012 former Energy Minister, Rayburn Blackmoore, said construction of a geothermal plant would begin in the first quarter of 2013.
Also in 2012, Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, told parliament that Dominica could have a geothermal power plant in operation by 2014.