Geothermal project faces drawbacks says PM Skerrit

Geothermal site at Laudat. Photo Credit: Nixon George, Quick Link Productions via DGDC

The construction of the Geothermal Plant located in Laudat is being faced with some drawbacks which have caused the government to revisit the designs.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said during his Anou Palay Programme on Sunday that the project went to tender, and all of the bids were returned significantly higher than the in-house estimates.

“Geothermal, as you know, as we have indicated, we had all of the funds for the geothermal [project] from the World Bank, from the European Union, from SIDS DOCK; we had all of the funds required for the geothermal,” he said. “We went to tender for the project and the tender came back with a much higher tab than the funds that we had, significantly higher.”

He said it was felt that the bidding process should be terminated and the project design should be revisited.

According to the prime minister, the government has been advised that the idea of having the Re-injection Well in Laudat is feasible, “and there is no need for us to have the Re-injection Well located in Wotten Waven, which will be a significant cost.”

He said it’s something that the government had drawn to the attention of the engineers at the time, having had experience with the Hydro Plants and the access of those pipes from the Fresh Water Lake.

Skerrit promised to provide details as soon as some options which are being considered for approaching the situation, are finalized.

The prime minister said in Parliament during his address last week, that the electricity sector is one of the essential pillars upon which a resilient nation must be built.

He said his government is exploring the recommendations of the Sustainable and Resilient Energy Plan (S-REP) developed with the assistance of the Clinton Climate Initiative, with particular regard to the integration of large-scale solar PV to the national grid, on the west coast and the north of the island, and the creation of micro-grids.

Furthermore he said six sites have been approved for a UNDP Low Carbon Development Path (LCDP) Project intervention – the St. Cyr Resource Centre, The Dominica Infirmary, Morne Rachette Emergency Resource Centre, Isaiah Thomas Secondary School, Portsmouth Secondary School and San Sauveur Primary School; implemented by the Government and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

“Mr. Speaker, the greening of our electricity sector will result in greater resilience for the country and economy and new jobs for our people,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

In 2019, Minister for Energy Ian Douglas gave the public the assurance that the government has all the funding required for the construction of the long-awaited Geothermal Energy Plant in the Roseau Valley.

The Dominica Geothermal Development Company Limited in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Energy and Employment conducted testing of the well in that area last year.

Douglas said the concept design for the geothermal plant had been completed including the revised route for the re-injection pipeline from Laudat to Wotten Waven and Trafalgar.

He said lands had also been identified for the project and the ministry of lands was working on acquiring that land from the owners.

The government has reportedly spent over $50-million exploring the island’s geothermal potential but there have been complaints in some quarters that the project has been placed on the back burner.

The quest by the current administration to tap Dominica’s geothermal energy potential started as far back as 2011 when the government signed a contract for the exploratory drilling of geothermal wells in the Roseau Valley.

Drilling for the island’s geothermal project officially ended in 2015 and the project entered a new stage.

In his budget address that same year, Prime Minister Skerrit said that negotiations were underway for a joint venture with a French investment consortium, to build and operate the domestic plant with the aim of exporting electricity to Guadeloupe and Martinique.

The government subsequently announced in 2016, that it had taken a decision to run the geothermal project as a company solely owned by the government and people of Dominica and would go ahead alone, in constructing a small geothermal plant in Dominica. Then, it committed to investing US$15M into the geothermal company with funds from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

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.

The Dominica government has stated that it hopes to make Dominica the world’s first climate-resilient country with a cheaper, cleaner, more reliable source of energy.

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21 Comments

  1. BMB
    August 7, 2020

    Let not your heart be troubled my people. This geothermal exercise will pick-up steam and full speed ahead in 2024 (do the math Dec., 6th, 2019)

  2. Ibo France
    August 6, 2020

    Many inquiring minds want to know about the whereabouts of the millions that were given to complete the geothermal project. The answer is most obvious and well known.
    When there is little or no transparency, in any administration, massive corruption reigns. Hardly anything gets done. The country remains in a severe state of underdevelopment and backwardness. Public wages are low and stagnant. The middle class disappears and the economic gap between the few rich citizens and the vast majority of dirt poor residents widens. This is precisely the case in Dominica. Dominica is a perfect case-study of the harmful and devastating effects of corruption on a nation. The Skerrit-led autocracy is shrouded in secrecy. The sole purpose of this is to conceal all their corrupt practices. Meantime, Dominica pines away.

  3. No you didn't
    August 6, 2020

    Great initiative, good luck with this as electricity is too costly here for locals and derails direct foreign investments. However, don’t spread yourselves too thin, concentrate and complete one thing at a time. You may have to forgo doing the airport(popular for votes) and complete the geo plant, then move on the airport nonstop to completion.

  4. Pas Maylay
    August 5, 2020

    I really don’t even care….next comess.!!!….

  5. Not A Herd Follower
    August 5, 2020

    And the masses keep electing the same party with the same leader expecting results (development). This is the definition of stupidity.

  6. John smalls
    August 5, 2020

    Here we go again. You’ll were told from day one that plans were not good at all. But you guys choose the worse one and run with it. Now tax payers have to pay more money that you’ll are going to borrow on our heads.

  7. DA TRUMP
    August 5, 2020

    Sounds like people are actually happy and would like to see this project fail.
    wow… amazing

  8. Manicou
    August 5, 2020

    Pipe dreams (no pun intended)

  9. GoodWeed
    August 5, 2020

    Mr. PM, Drawbacks are unacceptable. Rather than to perform a total redesign why not ask for value engineering suggestions to bing cost down. Now, is the time to make this happen, let’s ask the Clinton Foundation to redirect the fund this project rather than Photovoltaic. This is an important project that needs to be completed in no more than a year. We cannot keep pushing this back.

  10. August 5, 2020

    While I’m fully in favour of the development of renewable energy, I do have some reservations about the move toward geothermal energy on a small volcanic island. I wrote and published a novel, River of Fire, which exposed some of the drawbacks. Even though the book is fiction, I did plenty of research. Beyond the danger of increased seismic activity, one of the problems is what to do with the superheated waste water. If you dump it in the river, goodbye crayfish, Titiri, tropical fish living close to the seashore, and who knows what else. Caribbean nations agreed to a doctrine of ‘1.5 to Stay Alive’ at COP21 held in Paris in 2015 …that is, the maximum air and sea temperature increase permissible in terms of global warming. Accordingly, I feel Dominica should follow a responsible, sustainable path that will lead to an independent yet safe and secure future.

    • Not A Herd Follower
      August 5, 2020

      The Dominica project involves recycling the super-heated water. A well will be built for this.

  11. Ibo France
    August 4, 2020

    It’s nine (9) years and counting and the Geothermal Project is not even in its infancy stage. This form of renewable energy would be excellent for the environment, the economy and cheaper for the consumer. All would welcome it with open arms.

    Unfortunately, this present regime is too incompetent, too corrupt, too shiftless, too anachronistic to accomplish important projects of this magnitude.

    This fraudulent Skerrit-led junta over promises and under-delivers from since its ascension to power. This committee of vultures is worth no more than a bag of coal dust.

    • Zandoli
      August 5, 2020

      The prime Minister should tell the public how much money went into some pockets instead of the project. Trust me when I tell you all the dollars did not go into advancing the project.

      As a friend who has paid money told me: you don’t get to play unless you pay.

  12. Bring back the kidnapped parrots
    August 4, 2020

    What happened to all the money that was given by the world bank and European Union over the past 20 years, who got it and in whose bank was it deposited? This project seems to be just one big scam and somebody and some persons may be depositing the money into their own personal bank account.

  13. Pipo
    August 4, 2020

    Sadly another pipe dream, another white elephant, gone the way of our coffee plant and our abattoir. I am not rejoicing, no, I am deeply saddened. Still, the airport may happen and the PM have his luxurious residence at Morne Daniel so something is working for him but not for the rest of us. Parry, you want to want to buy my shares in the hydro electric company? They going cheap Parry.

  14. click here
    August 4, 2020

    going to the donors for funds, without knowing the price range of the contractors? That is like me asking the bank for money, to only then go about finding out how much i will need to do what i need to do. We will never get geothermal, maybe not in our lifetime. They talking about resilience, but not one government building, not one of those new so called apartment buildings are equipped with solar panels to help the tax payers save home on the expenses of running the government.

    Stop and realize that these people playing smart or just wicked. you cannot tell me in 2020 that i have to suggest this to you all? and how will geothermal be fully utilized if/ when it comes? will industrial sites and activities be allowed set up close by to utilize the cheap power? will new industries be looked at like paper manufacturing or a dairy? will the health and wellness industries be allowed to benefit? what are the benefits for the public sector besides cheap energy?

  15. Roseau River
    August 4, 2020

    I would have thought we would have sought funding once the costing exercise was complete, not the other way around. That being said, do have the ability to get the necessary funding to move the project forward?

  16. Batibou
    August 4, 2020

    Under the watch of this useless and corrupt government another major projects is going to bite the dust in the same manor the coffee factory did, the Moroccan hotel did and Ross Uni did, to name but a few. This government could not organise a drink up in a rum shop.

  17. zandoli
    August 4, 2020

    Another white elephant in the making…..just as the coffee processing plant

  18. dissident
    August 4, 2020

    More failures on your record Skerrit…..how much money did you have in total for the project. I’m surprised that you didn’t blame covid-19

  19. Iamanidiot
    August 4, 2020

    I’m 31, I doe want to lie nuh…but since I was maybe…let me say 11, Since I was maybe about 11 I hearing about Geothermal

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