ROSEAU – Dominica has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with an Iceland-based company to drill two wells as the island continues with its efforts to develop its geothermal energy sector.
Planning, Economic Development, Climate Resilience, Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy, Dr Vince Henderson, said the agreement was signed on February 15.
“We signed the contract with Iceland Drilling Company and they will be coming to Dominica later this year to drill two new wells…in Laudat,” Henderson said as he toured the area with a delegation from the World Bank headed its Country Representative for the Caribbean, by Lilia Burunciuc.
He said they would be remaining on the island for three months “and we are looking forward to that”.
He said the contract is worth US$12.5 million and “most of that money is grant money from the UK …so we are utilising about 12 million dollars in grants to carry out some of the work that is being done in Laudat for geothermal development so far.
“So that is really good news and the World Bank Country director is here and we explain to them so they have a first-hand view of what is happening on site and it is very exciting for us,” Henderson added.
The World Bank has approved US$27 million project to support the construction of a seven megawatt small geothermal power plant in Dominica, which aims to increase the share of renewables, diversify the country’s energy matrix, and identify a clear road map for private sector investment in geothermal development.
Dominica has a small power system that relies heavily on diesel to produce electricity. The average price of electricity on the island is amongst the highest in the world, around US$0.33 cents/kWh and customers are exposed to the volatility of international oil prices.
The Geothermal Risk Mitigation Project is expected to significantly lower electricity costs in Dominica and increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix from 25 to 51 per ent, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 38 223 tons of CO2 per year. It will also assess the potential to export homegrown geothermal energy to its neighbours.
The project will be implemented by the Dominica Geothermal Development Company Ltd and is financed by a US$17.2 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), US$9.95 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), as well as grants from the UK’s Department for International Development – US$10 million from DFID and US$2 million the Small Island Developing States DOCK Initiative – and technical assistance from the government of New Zealand and the Agence Française de Développement. (CMC)