The government of Dominica will issue two contracts for the continuation of the construction of a geothermal plant in Dominica with assistance from the United Kingdom and the World Bank.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made this announcement on January 12th at welcoming ceremony for the British High commissioner to Dominica, His Excellency Scott Furssedonn-Wood. His stay in Dominica started from January 10th and will last until January 14th.
While here, Furssedonn-Wood and his delegation visited the geothermal site in Laudat, a project “that holds much economic promise for the island.”
“We have issued one contract for a phase of the project; this has been going on since last year. There are two additional contracts which are about to be issued. There were some administrative issues we had to address with the World Bank and this been basically set aside and I believe in the next couple weeks or so then I should be in a position to give the go-ahead for these two contracts,” the prime minister stated.
He revealed that the government had to redefine the project “because when going out to tender, all of the bids came out way beyond the funds they had for the project.”
In looking at that design, Skerrit said experts suggested that the project could be reconfigured with the reinjection well in Laudat and not all the way towards Wotten Waven and into Trafalgar which “certainly removed a huge chunk of the cost of the project.”
“We believe we can achieve our objective. With this, we are partnering with a French company to invest in this project and to manage it and I believe that we are moving closer to the promise land. And…I think if we have a partner like a British government with us we should be able to achieve this,” skerrit stated.
He added although the plan of the project has been around for some time, the exploratory phase was both costly and long in duration for obvious reasons.
“We were impacted by Hurricane Maria and I believe that the natural reaction of most would have been to scrap this project but at the very first cabinet meeting, we indicated that this project is too important to the transformation of Dominica,” the prime minister said.
He said while it has been costly, the government has maintained its realization of the importance of this project together with a coalition of partners including the UK government and the World Bank which he stated have been “very gracious” with their support, in terms of the provision of financial and technical support and “the literal holding of our hands through this process.”
The Prime minster stated that this venture would place Dominica in a better position to reduce the use of fossil fuel in the country and enhance its resilience agenda by utilizing the resources on island to generate energy.
“One can appreciate the impact we’d have on tourism and light manufacturing and the cost of energy that we currently pay.”
He said the UK has not only provided grants towards the financing of the geothermal plant but has provided much needed Technical and moral support. Skerrit recalled that since Hurricane Maria, when 226% of Dominica’s GDP was affected, the UK has provided moral support to Dominica in addition to US 10 million dollars they’ve donated.
“For us is not only about the financial support, it is about the genuine care and concern which the UK government continues to bestow on our country which is so very important,” the prime minister stated.