SAINT LUCIA is on target to begin geothermal exploratory drilling.
The recently completed surface exploration studies, designed to better understand the geothermal resource conditions, suggest that the resource exists outside of the Sulphur Springs area and outside of the Piton Management Area (PMA).
“This is good news as earlier concerns about threats to the integrity of the PMA by this project will now be precluded”, a statement from the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology said yesterday.
The final technical report on these surface exploration activities will be discussed at a series of high level geothermal meetings starting today at the Bay Gardens Inn, Rodney Bay.
In addition, meetings will be held between LUCELEC and the proposed geothermal developer to reach consensus on a term sheet towards the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and a term sheet between Government and the geothermal developer to reach consensus on a Geothermal Development Agreement (GDA).
This week`s meetings will further advance the Geothermal Resource Development Project, the Ministry said, adding:
“The development of the geothermal resource is in keeping with the Government’s policy objective of reducing Saint Lucia’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation. In 2014, Saint Lucia committed to achieving a national target of meeting 35% of its energy requirements from renewable sources by the year 2020”.
The Government of Saint Lucia envisages that developing the country’s geothermal resource is a key strategy and a practicable way to meet this sustainable energy target. In light of this policy objective, the government obtained financial assistance and technical support from a number of development partners to advance efforts towards the development of the country’s geothermal resource.
The World Bank assisted Saint Lucia in accessing approximately US$2 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the SIDS DOCK Support Programme for the Geothermal Resource Development Project. Technical assistance valued at US$800,000 was received from the Government of New Zealand and US$500,000 of in-kind support was received from the Clinton Climate Initiative to assist this initiative.
Government has secured the services of a consultant to assist with the ongoing negotiations with a qualified geothermal developer, to invest in the geothermal wells, the steam gathering system and the geothermal power plant. In addition, the government is in the process of securing the services of consultants, who will carry out an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) including public consultations, as well as a pre-feasibility assessment to decide whether to proceed with the exploratory drilling stage.
It is expected that this phase of the Geothermal Development Project should be completed by the first quarter of 2017, with a view to commencing exploratory drilling in a new resource development area by 2018.