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NIA Accepts Bid For Geothermal Development Project

 

Plans for a geothermal energy project in Nevis began in 2004 — and then stalled.  

 

After several false starts, NIA officials say a contract for the project should be completed in December. They hope to harness the energy three years after construction begins.

 

“[Geothermal] is a resource that is important to the island,” said Hon. Alexis Jeffers, minister of energy. “Some believe it could be a game changer for the island.” 

 

After reviewing three proposals, the NIA accepted a bid from Nevis Renewable Energy International. 

 

Despite its name, the company is not wholly Nevis-based. It consists of a partnership between two U.S. companies, Tetra Tech and AltaRock Energy. 

 

Tetra Tech is a large, publicly traded company that specializes in engineering, support and management. It employs 14,000 people in 350 offices worldwide. 

 

AltaRock Energy specializes in the exploration, research and technical know-how necessary for a geothermal project. The company currently manages three geothermal sites.  

 

A third company, Nevis Energy Limited, is also involved. Details about that organization are still pending. An NIA press release calls it a “Nevisian firm specializing in Caribbean economic development.” 

 

Deputy Premier Mark Brantley has served as the “catch-all” person for this project, he explained even though energy is not his ministry. “Because [geothermal] was generating so much interest, all the members of cabinet were being bombarded with emails and requests for details from all around the world,” he said “So the cabinet took a decision … My role was to report back to the general cabinet.” 

 

He said NREI offers financial and technical resources that are instrumental for the success of the project.  

 

Current projections for the cost of the project — and the consumer savings it will generate — are outstanding. Brantley estimates that the cost of electricity on Nevis could drop 30 to 50 percent. (The island currently generates most of its power using fossil fuels.) 

 

West Indies Power formerly held the rights to geothermal development on Nevis, but that contract was dissolved in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court shortly before the current NIA took office. 

 

“In geothermal, the critical things are financing and expertise, and [West Indies Power] had neither,” Brantley said. 

 

While that contract has been dissolved, West Indies Power continues to appeal the court’s ruling. Brantley expects those matters to conclude in early 2014. 

 

Source: http://www.thestkittsnevisobserver.com/2013/11/22/geothermal.html



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