By LR Liburd
The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
The Hon. Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis and Senior Minister and Minister of Nevis Affairs, Labour, Social Security and Ecclesiastical Affairs in the Government of National Unity has announced that one of the geothermal wells on Nevis was sabotaged.
He made this revelation in the Parliamentary Lounge at Government Headquarters during the Prime Minister’s monthly press conference held on Monday (May 30) when a reporter sought answers to the status of the project.
“We had one problem with one of the wells. It appears that if there had been some sabotage of that well as it could not find the energy; in a well which had ejected significant steam levels. And we are still to investigate that a little further.”
He stated that some six weeks ago representatives of a company that the Nevis Island Administration had contracted to provide exploration and development of the energy source on that island had sent a number of their engineers to conduct an evaluation on the wells, which were already dug under the Nevis Reformation Party Administration (NRP).
The Premier explained that there are three wells and a report from the engineers indicated that apart from the one that was believed sabotaged, the presence of energy resource still exists.
“In terms of the other two wells which have been dug, they are satisfied that the energy levels are still there. It just means that in the case of the well which we think has been sabotaged, there will be renewed effort to reactivate that well when the company brings in its own drill rig in the not too distant future.”
He declared that the next step of the project is for the company, Nevis Renewable Energy International, to bring in its drill rig to develop their new test wells.
Premier Amory emphasised that the financial cost of the project would not be borne his Administration.
“The other level of our involvement is that the company has already approached OPIC for potential financing of the project. The Government itself will not be putting any money into it because we are contracting them to provide that service, and they have taken the initiative as they have promised to approach financiers to finance the ongoing development of this renewable resource. So we shall be able in another couple of weeks to report to you on further progress in the development of geothermal in Nevis.”
At the recently held Regional Geothermal Conference in St. Kitts, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris had said that the Nevis project is at a stage where “it is ready to go”.
“…And I want to commend Premier Amory and his Administration for the leadership and for the transparent way in which they have approached geothermal in Nevis.”
Deputy Premier the Hon. Mark Brantley was also in high praise of the project, stating that the developers had indicated the geothermal plant should produce enough energy to supply the needs of Nevis, St. Kitts and other neighbouring islands.
He had also declared that in January 2018 Nevis is expected to take a huge step in claiming the title as the “Greenest Place on Planet Earth”.
The Federal Foreign Affairs Minister made these pronouncements during a recent edition of the Government’s radio programme ‘Working for You’.
“It is an initiative that we embarked on some 10 years ago,” he said, adding that it is definitely worthwhile. “We finally got to a point where we can say to the public that based on the agreements entered into, the geothermal plant should be completed by December 2017.”
The decade-plus geothermal project had encountered many challenges and delays, including funding, as well as criticisms from the previous Administration.
The Hon. Joseph Parry, Leader of the NRP, is adamant that nothing was done to the project after his party had demitted office.
“What work has been done to geothermal in Nevis since 2013? Nothing…nada! In 2014 Mr. Amory said they will take three years, and nothing has happened. This is 2016. If you were to say something happens tomorrow and you add three years, is 2019.”
In his 2012 New Year’s message to the citizens and residents of Nevis, the then Premier said: “This Government will continue its efforts to bring geothermal energy to this country. We have overcome many hurdles and we will succeed in the end.”
However, in response, Brantley remarked, “…The year 2011 saw the last rites being read for the much vaunted geothermal project which was killed by mismanagement and incompetence of the NRP regime.”