Roseau – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Tuesday told an international donors conference that his administration has provided nearly 50 per cent of the EC$150 million spent to date on Dominica seeking to develop its geothermal energy sector.
The conference is an initiative of the government, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) together with the United States Department of State and partners in the United Nations.
“Dominica is indeed grateful for your support and cooperation over the years in this particular endeavour, and we look forward to forging new links, and building on the gains we have enjoyed thus far,” Skerrit told the conference, adding “this is an opportunity to review our successes and decide together, how we march on to the completion of Dominica’s geothermal energy project”.
He said the Dominica government took the leap into renewable energy development over a decade ago and with no fear of contradiction “I can safely say that geothermal energy exploration is a grueling, arduous process.
“But we have stuck with it because we are convinced the long-term benefits far outweigh the downsides,” he said, noting that one of the takeaways is that combining renewable energy exploration with the need to build resilience and the realities of small island infrastructure and topography is not for the faint hearted; and it is not cheap.
“In fact the costs associated with geothermal exploration are astronomical, and often over the past years, we have had to consider the wisdom of continuing with this ambitious project.
“Consider the roadblocks to our progress which have come in the form of a pandemic, successive storms and hurricanes, geopolitical upheavals and procurement challenges. It is also not easy being the first…a pioneer of sorts in our region.
“We have the scars to show for this, but we have kept our eyes on the prize of reduced electricity costs for all citizens; the ability to generate 100 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources and the prospect of a new source of revenue for the state from the sale of excess energy to our neighbour.”
Skerrit told the conference that when the geothermal plant in the Roseau Valley comes online, it will result in reduced costs of doing business and an increase in foreign direct investment,’ h said acknowledging that “we are the first to admit it has been a long journey marred by bumps along the road. (CMC)