Geotechnical Studies Undertaken for RESDP Civil Works Design

The Renewable Energy Sector Development Project (RESDP) a Government of Saint Lucia initiative aimed at informing the government on the viability of its geothermal resource for power generation and strengthening of the enabling environment to scale-up clean energy investments with the private sector, recently commenced civil preparatory works with the conduct of geotechnical studies.

These studies were conducted at Fond St. Jacques, Belle Plaine and Saltibus as well as at a proposed materials storage area in Parc Estate. These activities serve as a critical input into the design of the infrastructure required to support drilling and provide design information for construction of access roads, storage areas, well pads, water supply and sanitation facilities.

Geotechnical studies in Saltibus

According to the project’s Technical Coordinator, Al Barthelmy, “geotechnical studies are required to assess the geological and soil conditions of the proposed drilling areas. The studies furnish useful information to develop an optimal civil infrastructure design. This is particularly important because an over-conservative design could increase project costs without significant benefits while an under-design can result in failures that delay a project, increase construction and maintenance costs and potentially endanger the public.”

Testing took place over four days and involved excavating four test pits not exceeding 3mX3m X3m per site and undertaking in situ tests using dynamic cone penetrometer to evaluate soil bearing capacity. Extracted soil samples were tested for the plasticity index, moisture content, gradation and shear strength (where applicable). After completion of tests, the pits were refilled, and the ground condition restored to their original state.

The work was undertaken by local engineering company, Theobalds Consulting Limited, and overseen by staff of the Project Implementation Unit. All test results have been forwarded to the Exploration Management Consultant, ELC Electroconsult S.p.A, headquartered in Italy, for the commencement of the project infrastructural design.

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