(L to R) Dr. Devon Gardener; Judith Ephraim; Jacques Chouraki; Minister Ian Patches

Press Release

Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 13, 2016 (SKNIS): The Geothermal Regional Forum concluded on Thursday (May 12) and officials are already buzzing about some of the outcomes of the three-day conference that was held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.

Judith Ephraim, Programme Officer at the Sustainable Energy Unit at the OECS Commission, said geothermal energy is a part of the energy consideration mix in the Caribbean with seven out of 10 OECS countries exploring such. While every country has a different roadmap for pursuing geothermal production there are areas for collaboration.

“We see areas such as capacity building, such as negotiations, as areas where collectively we can share experiences, we can share resources,” she said.

Dr. Devon Gardener, Programme Manager for Energy and head of the Energy Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat, agreed and said delegates looked at “the major challenges the member states are having in bringing their geothermal potential on stream” and “identifying how can we then package a set of support dynamics that can help the countries to address those issues as they come up and help to drive this forward so we can meet our targets and objectives.”

Ms. Ephraim said the number of delegates with different backgrounds from across the Caribbean made the forum attractive. These include development partners who she said have “a genuine interest” in the region’s energy development.

“This also presented an opportunity for us to build synergies among the partners and to see where we can create niches, where there can be focused attention in a coordinated mechanism to allow us to advance and accelerate geothermal energy development,” she added

Jacques Chouraki, President of Teranov – a French engineering and services company for new and renewable energy – said one area where coordination can be beneficial is in the drilling of wells. He suggested that several countries pursuing geothermal exploration could band together to negotiate a collective cost which is likely to be lower than each country negotiating individually.

Minister of Public Infrastructure in St. Kitts and Nevis, Honourable Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, quoted the late legendary American businessman Henry Ford and said “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

He added that a collective approach to renewable energy development will offer economic and other benefits that will redound to the region’s population.