Premier Brantley: NIA pursuing geothermal energy only at present
From the NIA
CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – In pursuit of its sustainable energy programme, the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) will not actively pursue other areas of renewable energy, but will concentrate its efforts in geothermal energy.
The Honourable Mark Brantley, premier of Nevis and minister of energy, said at his fifth monthly press conference at Pinney’s Estate June 25 that Nevis Renewable Energy International Inc. (NREI), the geothermal developers who the NIA contracted to develop the resource, would be able to satisfy the island’s energy needs.
“Nevis is small and the demand for energy is finite at this point,” he said. “We vary between 6 and 9 megawatts – 6 at base and 9 at peak. So [NREI] has said to us they can provide us with 9 to 10 megawatts at the first go. Every provider requires the Nevis Electricity Company Limited (NEVLEC) to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA). The problem that we have tried to avoid is NEVLEC being committed contractually to pay for 14 or 15 megawatts of power when we could only sell 6 to 9 megawatts. Currently, geothermal alone will provide 100 percent of our base load and so, it makes no sense for us to commit ourselves to pay for power that we will have and cannot sell. So that is the real thinking behind the approach that we have taken.”
The NIA, NEVLEC and NREI signed a PPA Nov. 25, 2015. The agreement provides for 25 years of domestic base load renewable energy supply from geothermal resources located on the island of Nevis.
The first phase of the project will supply 9 megawatts of power that is immediately expandable to meet the ongoing power needs of the island and capable of exporting 40-50 megawatts of additional power to neighbouring islands.
Brantley, who was at the time deputy premier, said the Nevis Geothermal Project will create increased economic growth, reduce power costs, increase employment and create new economic opportunities for local businesses.
The Nevis Renewable International Inc., a subsidiary of Texas-based Thermal Energy Partners, LLC., said it is committed to hire, to train and to the maximum extent possible employ Nevisians in site development, planning, construction and operations phases of the project.
Thermal Energy Partners LLC is a geothermal energy company that provides resilient, renewable and base-load power to utilities, industrial and critical infrastructure clients worldwide.
The first PPA signed for renewable energy on Nevis was with WindWatt (Nevis) Ltd. in 2010 for the provision of wind-generated energy at its wind farm at Maddens. The farm was officially connected to the NEVLEC grid in July of the same year.
In the area of solar energy, the NIA has not entered any contractual agreements. However, it has encouraged business places and private homes to install solar panels, a challenge that has been embraced by at least one major business place on the island.