By Steve Thomas
Observer Nevis Editor
(Charlestown, Nevis) – A top official of the geothermal company developing power for Nevis recently assured the public that consumers can look forward to more affordable and sustainable electricity in the foreseeable future.
“Nevis will be very, very proud in a matter of one year and about three months, to be the first country in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to boast of geothermal energy. It is no light feat, I must tell you that,” said M. Rawlinson Isaac, General Manager of West Indies Power Nevis Ltd.
Work continued to be on schedule and construction of the geothermal plant was planned for October and would provide some “good and high paying” job opportunities, he said.
Mr. Issac spoke at an Aug. 8 handing over ceremony of a gazebo and bus stand at the Five Turnings in Cotton Ground Village to the Nevis Island Administration. He offered details about current and future geothermal operations.
West Indies Power’s “intention and we have promised [Premier Parry] that we will provide this country with cheap and sustainable electricity, no outages whatsoever,” Mr. Issac said. “Don’t worry [when] you hear people talking all kinds of nonsense, the resource is here, we are here to extract it to develop that resource, to operate and to produce electricity. There is no mystery about it, it happens all over the world. Iceland is doing it for almost 100 years; Italy, the United States provides about 2,000 mega watts; Russia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkey, Taiwan [and] in the Caribbean we have Guadeloupe. So we are saying that we have a tremendous power base here and that we have to extract it for our own utility.”
Mr. Issac spoke just one week before Premier Parry and other NIA officials departed for the nation of Iceland to inspect geothermal operations there.
He offered words of praise for Premier Parry.
“I want you [Nevisians] to commend and to give really top cheers to the Premier because when we [WIP] approached him about geothermal, although it has been around for quite some time, he had the vision and not only the vision, he also had the courage – because I would imagine all those times people talking about volcano and earthquake if you attempt to drill – to stand up to all those concerns and to give West Indies Power the license to explore,” he said.
When Premier Parry was approached by WIP, he was told that exploratory works would not cost the government any money, Mr. Issac said. The company subsequently brought to the table persons with the financial resources, skill and competence to see the project through and to make Nevis proud.
“We are also having negotiations with the St. Kitts government as well because we believe we have enough [energy] to supply them on the other side of the Narrows…I want you to bear with us, to bear with the government, listen to the radio, get the information, read in terms of what is happening because I am here to advise you that geothermal is indeed the way forward,” he said.
The drill hole at Nevis Site1at Spring Hill had produced 150mega watts of power which had been capped. Nevis utilizes about 10 mega watts. Drilling continues at Nevis Site 2 in Upper Jessups Village and as of Friday August 08 they had gotten 250 degrees out of a depth of about 1800 feet, he said.
“So we [WIP] are doing what we are here to do, we are doing what we promised the government what we will do and we promise you and the government that we will deliver electricity in reliable quantities,” he said.
According to the General Manager, a study was done sometime in 1999 and a report from the United States Department of Energy stated that the Caribbean had about 10,000 mega watts of geothermal power. Nevis contributed about 900 and so West Indies Power decided do something about relieving the energy plight of the island.
In reference to the gazebo and bus stand, Mr. Issac said the company decide to finance the over $80,000 project after the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Kerry Mc Donald saw students waiting for the school bus getting wet and decided that the company, whose office is based in the area, should so something to rectify the situation.