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Nevis premier welcomes Phase II of geothermal project

Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), Joseph Parry, has welcomed the news of Phase II, the next major stage of geothermal development which is slated to commence in earnest in late January early February 2011. He said the progress would mean a lot to the government of Nevis.

Parry told the Department of Information last week on the heels of a meeting with geothermal developers West Indies Power and an advance team of geothermal plant designers, engineers and budget planners involved in the construction of the geothermal plant at Spring Hill, along with a representative from the project’s financiers, that the NIA had placed its bets on geothermal development in the interest of the people of Nevis and Phase II of the project meant everything.

According to the information he had received from West Indies Power executives, drilling geothermal holes for the 10 megawatt power plant at Spring Hill would commence in the latter part of January or early February next year and onsite work on the actual geothermal power plant would begin in March. Financing for the project had also been finalised.

“This stage of the project means everything to the Nevis Island Administration. We have placed our bets on the development of geothermal on the island as a means to diversify the economy and to provide cheaper and consistent electricity; to provide electricity for St Kitts and possibly beyond St Kitts.

“The government of Puerto Rico is interested in the geothermal energy if we are ever able to supply geothermal energy to them. So it means everything – jobs, more cascading industries, other industries and furthermore to make Nevis the first green government in the western hemisphere and eventually to make St Kitts and Nevis the first green nation in the western hemisphere,” Parry said.

Parry pointed to the involvement of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton’s push for geothermal energy development in the region.

“I believe that the American government will be happy to be associated with that and the entire region because what it will do basically is to confirm Nevis as a leader.

“We have the first wind farm in the OECS, we have the water project, which is one of the first of its type in the OECS, and with the geothermal energy we will not only be a leader but we will be an example to the rest of the Caribbean and CARICOM areas, that you don’t sit around and wait for grants and handouts but you can develop your resources for the benefit of your people,” he said.

The premier said the announcement of the start date for Phase II of the geothermal development project on Nevis had come when oil prices on the world market seem to be on the rise due to circumstances occurring in the United States of America.

He said, as a result, Nevis like other islands of the Caribbean were subject to the vagaries of the movement of the US dollar and the Nevis Island Administration wanted to eliminate that because the island’s economy could not withstand with those shocks which were coming more frequently over the past few years.

“We don’t know where the situation will end. We certainly don’t want to be once again at a point where the price of oil is being sold for US$150 a barrel and that would be just too much for the consumers here who use electricity on the island of Nevis. So we need to have this project done and we need to have it done fast,” he said.

Parry, who is also the Minister responsible for Tourism, said worldwide recognition was part of the strategy as well.

He said that tourism was another of the island’s top priorities and if the name of Nevis became known worldwide, that’s the way the NIA wanted it to be.

“It’s good for us in terms of tourism, it’s good for us in terms of other investment because businesspeople know and they would look at their options and see if it makes sense to have anything to do with Nevis.

“Of course we know we are small, we have a small population, we have a small land mass [and] we don’t expect people are going to come here in great numbers. If they do we are in trouble but we certainly want some quality people to come and invest on the island and it means a lot for our treasury and our employment situation,” he said.

Source: Caribbean News Now



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