The Government of Dominica has reached an important stage in its quest to harness and exploit the country’s geothermal resource in the Roseau Valley.
Following comprehensive geological, geochemical, geophysical and related environmental and feasibility studies, it has been confirmed that Dominica has the largest geothermal potential in the Caribbean.
Recently, the Government of Dominica supported by the European Union and the Agence Française de Développement undertook a drilling exercise of three test wells in Laudat and Wotten Waven to determine the potential of geothermal resources in those areas.
Results gained from the exploratory drillings have allowed a greater understanding of the size and quality of geothermal resources that could be used.
This information, along with results of the feasibility studies of interconnections funded by the European Investment Bank, has informed Government of the most effective approach to producing electricity.
Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit told Parliament this week that the Government of Dominica is now exploring the possibility of constructing a 10 to 15 megawatt geothermal plant in the Roseau Valley.
He said this is in keeping with Government’s policy of developing a carbon negative economy by the year 2020.
“As a first step in implementing this policy, we have commenced the process of negotiation for building a 10 to 15 megawatt geothermal plant within two to three years,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.
Presently seventy percent (70%) of the island’s electricity is dependent on the importation and use of diesel fuel.
Prime Minister Skerrit told Parliament that the electricity generated from the geothermal plant will be used exclusively to augment the domestic supply.
“One study conducted in January of this year, concluded that such a geothermal plant could result in a reduction of electricity bills by 45 to 50 percent,” he noted.
The Government of Dominica is currently engaged in discussions with reputable firms in geothermal and power-generation industries on the matter of partnering with Government in the construction and operation of the geothermal plant.
Prime Minister Skerrit is anticipating that if all goes well the plant could be ready by 2014.
“There is a strong likelihood that the plant could be operational by 2014. The general public will be informed further on this in the coming months,” he informed the Parliament.
Bidding to select a company to build the geothermal plant in Dominica is tentatively scheduled for the second half of next year.
The geothermal plant, when constructed, is expected to provide clean and sustainable energy not only for Dominica but for neighboring islands.
This will allow Dominica to generate its electricity needs away from a primarily fossil fuel base to a renewable energy resource and will become a significant income-generator for the island.
Government is confident that once this geothermal plant is operational it will decrease its considerable foreign exchange expense of imported diesel and substantially lower energy costs for the island’s population.