Energy Minister Dr. Vince Henderson has announced that the target date for getting geothermal power on the grid is 2025. He made the announcement during the 2023-2024 National Budget debate on Thursday.
“We have now gotten to the final stage of negotiating an agreement with a private developer in a public private partnership…,” he said. “The good news is that we have finalized a date, we have started discussions on the final terms of the agreement and we are hoping in a few weeks we will be able to sign and to see construction commence later this year.”
He continued, “Once we can achieve that, our target date for getting geothermal power on the grid is 2025.”
According to Dr. Henderson, the actual designs of the plant have started and the company has done the designs.
“They have someone on the ground right now doing significant surveys and these are contracts they have already awarded,” he revealed. “Their project manager has visited and been in Dominica and in the Roseau Valley, so we are pretty much on our way. We are very advanced in that.”
Furthermore, he stated that there has been successful drilling in the Roseau Valley and there are two new wells with some of the best results anywhere in the world.
“We also have additional backup wells in that area,” he revealed.
Meanwhile, Dr. Henderson revealed that the biggest challenge the government is being faced with is the construction of new transmission lines.
“Because [with] the current system of DOMLEC, from the Roseau Valley to Fond Cole, the transmission lines will not have the capacity to carry hydro plus geothermal power,” he explained. “So, we must invest in new transmission lines and upgrade the capacity of those lines from 11 kilovolts. We are moving to 33 kilovolts and 69.”
In addition to that Dr. Henderson said the government will be building resilience in that line that they’ve never had before.
The government has spent over $50 million exploring the island’s geothermal potential.
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 December 2016, Dr. Henderson said the United Kingdom (UK) had committed $7 million in grant funding to the project.
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, the then 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.
Douglas said at the time that construction of a small geothermal plant was 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 Skerrit, told parliament that Dominica could have a geothermal power plant in operation by 2014.