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Developing geothermal energy for electricity supply in Grenada

The Grenada government Tuesday said it had intensified efforts to provide geothermal energy for use by local consumers by 2015.

Energy Minister Nazim Burke said that  the government has joined forces with the Grenada Electricity Company (GRENLEC) and that a joint Steering Committee “made up of representatives from the public and private sector including GRENLEC and government, has been established to spearhead the work that would be required to take that to its logical conclusion”.

Burke said that the Tillman Thomas government believes it can achieve the goal of switching to renewable energy within the next five years.

“We are trying to see how we could stay the course on this.  It would involve significant investments; it would involve the passage of a geothermal resource act to determine how it is going to be generated, who would own the rights and how those rights are going to be distributed.

“So there are a number of issues taking place in that regard and we are quite eager to push that program along.”

GRTENLEC general manager Vernon Lawrence said there is great potential in Grenada for the development and use of different forms of renewable energy.

“We’ve always said wind and solar are what we call intermittent generation. In other words you only get power when the wind blows. When the wind does not blow you get no power.

“Geothermal energy is what we call firm capacity. And unlike the wind if we put in wind we still have to put in standby diesel plant or some other firm capacity to replace that when it is not available.”

“For geothermal, it’s firm capacity – it’s always there; and therefore we have been aggressively looking at the geothermal potential in Grenada. We’ve done some preliminary studies and it has shown that there is some good potential for geothermal,” he added.

The preliminary studies have shown that Grenada can get up to 20 mega watts of geothermal energy from its highest mountain – Mount St. Catherine – by 2013; and up to 50 mega watts by 2015.

Lawrence said while the company is partnering with government to explore and develop the potential for use of geothermal energy on the island, they are also looking at other forms of renewable energy including solar, wind and waste.

The company has already set up and begun testing wind stations in three locations across the island.

They also have interconnectivity with over 20 solar-powered entities on the island with plans for expansion.

Lawrence said yhe decision to move from sole dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity is as a result of the volatility of fuel cost and the whole global initiative to go green.

Category/ies:Grenada News.
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