Premier Allays Fears Of St. Kitts ‘Killing’ Nevis Geothermal Pauline Ngunjiri Story Updated: September 25th 2015 at 3:20 pm Steam flows out of a well in Nevis
Premier Hon. Vance Amory, has attempted to assure Nevisians that St. Kitts pursuing geothermal energy does not mean the death of the Nevis geothermal endeavors. The federal government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Guadeloupe company to develop the natural resource in St. Kitts. Premier Amory addressed the contentious issue during Thursday ‘s (Sept 24) 9th Annual Consultation on the Economy held at the Nevis Performing Arts Centre. “While you have heard that the Federal Government has signed an MUO with a company in Guadeloupe, it does not mean this is detrimental to the geothermal development in Nevis,” he said. He said the move by St. Kitts complements Nevis Island Administration (NIA) efforts and will enable the Federation to have a larger geothermal resource. He however said Nevis will be cautious in the steps it takes. “I want to assure you ladies and gentlemen that geothermal development is still very current and progressive,” the Premier said, pointing out that it was not an easy sector to develop. “We are approaching this cautiously.” He highlighted the fact that it is expensive to export the energy as this involves construction of underground cables. He said it was not only the NIA that was cautious but also the investors as they seek to minimize risks and maximize benefits. On June 02 , 2008, Nevis marked a milestone in geothermal explorations when the first commercially sound reservoir jetted steam from a depth of 3720 feet at the Spring Hill Nevis I site. Since then the resource has not been developed as legal disputes with then developer West Indies Power and other setbacks have all but derailed its progress. In December 2013 the NIA announced it had accepted a bid from NIA accepted a bid from Nevis Renewable Energy International (NRE International), to develop geothermal energy on the island. Nothing further has been forthcoming about that arrangement or the status of developing the energy source. Meanwhile, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Development, Hon. Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, is optimistic about St. Kitts’ prospects of uncovering the renewable energy resource, and what that could mean for energy costs in the federation. He noted that should the resource be developed in St. Kitts, it should not be an obstacle for Nevis. “The Ministry of Energy has embarked upon a program that will seek to establish the potential of a geothermal resource on St. Kitts…In the process, we seek to determine how best to develop that resource without retarding the resource on Nevis.” Minister Liburd said that his ministry along with the St. Kitts Electricity Company (SKELEC) has established a road map to develop geothermal energy on St. Kitts on an industrial scale. “We intend to replace to the best and to the greatest extent the feasible use of fossil fuel generation for energy requirements of St. Kitts and to add green generating capacity means,” he said. “The road map would also include the proposed methodological approach to the government validating this resource.” A number of initiatives have reportedly been put in place that will lead to the success of the St. Kitts program, which is expected to be completed in five years. In April 2016 , officials expect to see the launch of slim-hole drilling, a phase to be completed in six months. A geothermal workshop, which is being organized for November 2016 will focus on the launch of grants, subsidies and concession loans. The launch of a commercial size demonstration well-drilling is anticipated for 2017 and in 2018 the geothermal resource final assessment and power plant. By the year 2020, the geothermal power plant is expected to be commissioned.