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Dominica impresses with Renewable Energy Development


Prior to the commencement of the Validation Workshop for the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, visiting delegation members, led by Ambassador Dr. Vince Henderson, took a tour of the geothermal energy plant in the Roseau Valley.  Officials agree that Dominica is leading the way in sustainable energy development with this move.


On Monday, Ambassador Henderson commented…”Seeing is believing and if we go to Laudat you will see and then you must believe. It is possible. Small Island States have the capacity to develop very complex projects”.


At the close of their meeting, GIS News got feedback from the international and regional delegates. The general consensus is that Dominica is, in fact, leading the region in the way of green energy development.


David Muckenhuber is Programme Coordinator for the Austrian Development Agency.  


David Muckenhuber


He said, “I have to say I was very impressed because everybody knows the Boiling Lake when it comes to Dominica and people think about tourism. But it’s another big step to move from a tourism project to an energy project because it can make use of the Boiling Lake and of the energy that you have underground here to [meet] the energy needs of the entire country which is really impressive. I really wish you much success with this project and I wish for the people of Dominica that the plant goes online as planned.” 


The Austrian Development Agency has partnered with SIDS Dock and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation for the establishment of green energy centres for SIDS around the world.  Muckenhuber says his Government is a veteran advocate for renewable energy.  Jan Harkey, Director of the Clinton Climate Initiative, Clean Energy told GIS News that the Foundation has been working with at least 25 Small Island Developing States and SIDS Dock in the area of clean energy.  He spoke freely about Dominica’s geothermal energy pursuits saying, “I think it goes hand in hand to have the Nature Island producing clean energy for its entire sector both in hydro and soon, in geothermal so it’s an extraordinary opportunity to help [improve] people’s lives, change their destiny and I think, lead the region.”


Dr. Albert Binger


Dr Albert Binger is the Coordinator of SIDS Dock –  the organisation championing the cause of energy for Small Island Developing States around the world.  Dr Binger says he sees the geothermal plant as a solution to poverty for Dominicans.


“I made one comment to my Chair, Ambassador Henderson that somebody was saying that what will come out of [the plant] is poison and I smiled and I said that the only poison I know is poverty… as a result of big electricity bills. But actually, that is the antidote. You develop your geothermal energy and bring down the price of electricity and people can have cheaper electricity. They can set up small businesses because they can then manage the bill.


“On the technical side of it, when you cook your pot on Sundays, don’t you get steam from the pot? That is all that will come from the plant, steam.”


Dominica’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Chairman of the SIDS Dock Steering Committee, H.E. Dr. Vince Henderson led that tour of the geothermal plant.


“This was just absolutely wonderful. It was amazing. One of them said, ‘Seeing is believing.’ There were people who had doubts. They couldn’t believe that we had done all this complex science and had drilled about a mile deep and were able to get steam of the quality to generate electricity. So they were excited and there was a lot of anticipation. When we completed the drilling of the first production well, there was a lot of excitement within the renewable energy community and they were anxious to see that.”


Ambassador Henderson affirmed that Dominica is being regarded in a positive light as a result of the Labour Party Government’s geothermal endeavour.  “They were pleased with the leadership that Dominica has given to pursuing renewable energy, especially geothermal, and they recognised how we’ve moved that process- very responsibly, paying attention to environmental concerns, being able to do it with partners as we did with the French and then bringing in other agencies like the Clinton Climate Initiative from the Clinton Foundation and getting all these partners to assist us and provide the best advice so that we get it right. I think that for them [has led them to] highlight Dominica as a best practise [model],” he said.


Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit affirmed the island’s commitment to green energy amidst the reported lack of political will to invest in renewable energy.  “From 2001, the Government of Dominica in collaboration with its partners invested over US $25M in the development of geothermal energy. Negotiations are already underway to construct the first geothermal power plant for domestic supply. Our consultants have advised that the first plant will be commissioned by 2016. This will allow us to transition from the dependence on imported and expensive fossil fuels. Clearly, the Government and people of Dominica have demonstrated political will and strong leadership in pursuing the deployment of renewable energy,“ he said.


By 2016, the Prime Minister says, Dominica will make history by becoming the first Small Island Developing State to export energy.  The geothermal energy plant has been proven capable of at least 11 megawatts of energy.




Category/ies:Dominica News, News.
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