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STUDIES REVEAL DOMINICA HAS THE LARGEST GEOTHERMAL ENERGY POTENTIAL IN THE CARIBBEAN

The Government of Dominica has reached an important stage in its quest to harness and exploit the country’s geothermal resource in the Wotten Waven area.

Comprehensive geological, geochemical and geophysical and related environmental and feasibility studies have revealed that the Commonwealth of Dominica, situated between the two French Departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, has the largest geothermal potential in the Caribbean.

This information was revealed by Geologist, Mr. Herve Traineau of CFG Services (Subsidiary of BRGM) at a Project Steering Committee Meeting of the Interreg IIIB financed component of the project entitled: “Preparation of a Geothermal-based Cross-Border Electrical Interconnection in the Caribbean” in Roseau recently. Work on this component of the geothermal energy project in the Wotten Waven resource area started in April, 2008 and was completed in November, 2008.

In presenting the results of his findings, Mr. Traineau revealed the following:

  • With so many volcanoes, Dominica is considered the island in the Caribbean with the largest geothermal potential;
  • The Morne Micotrin larva dome represents the heat source of the Wotten Waven geothermal reservoir;
  • An important interesting area for a large geothermal project in Wotten Waven is an area south of the Micotrin larva dome;
  • This area could site a small to large capacity geothermal power plant;
  • Nine sites in the Wotten Waven area have been identified for the construction of wells;
  • Various options are on the table for the construction of four large capacity power plants (30 MW each) to two small 15MW power plants.

In giving a time-frame of what could happen next, Mr. Traneau explained that exploratory drilling could begin in 2010. Further, the construction of production wells could start by the end of 2011 with a small 2 MW plant and a medium sized 15 MW plant “coming on line by 2013”.

It is also anticipated that a 30 MW capacity plant could be ready by 2014 and a second 30 MW capacity plant by 2017.

The preliminary figures on the production and investment costs suggests a cost of some US$95 million for the small project with the big project, including the cost of transmitting electricity via submarine cable to Martinique and Guadeloupe costing in excess of US$400 million.

The results and recommendations coming out of this preliminary phase is expected to help inform the next phase of the project – “Preparation of a Geothermal-based Cross-Border Electrical Interconnection in the Caribbean”. This phase is being financed by the European Union with support from the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Fond Francais pour L’ Environment Mondial (FFEM) to the tune of 5 million Euros.

Activities under this phase of the project will involve the drilling of exploratory wells to characterise the resource and undertaking studies to determine the financial, technical and environmental feasibility of the project, including the preparation of an investment prospectus to secure the long-term viability of the investment required currently estimated at approximately US$400 million.

The Government of Dominica has established the Project Management Unit (PMU), which will manage the next phase of the exploration and development of the Wotten Waven geothermal energy resource. The PMU will become operational later this month. It will be situated in the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy and Ports, Government Headquarters, Roseau.

Addresses at the Project Steering Committee meeting also came from Jean-Marc Mompelat, from the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, Dr. Philip Laplaige from the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and Mr. Lucien Blackmoore, Permanent Secretary, who spoke on behalf of the Minister for Public Utilities, Energy and Ports, Hon. Charles Savarin.

Contact: Sean Douglas
Press Secretary
Office of the Prime Minister
6th Floor, Financial Centre
Kennedy Avenue
Roseau
Commonwealth of Dominica
Tel: (767) 266 3054
Mobile: (767) 235 2955
Fax: (767) 448 8960
E-mail: douglass@dominica.gov.dm / seansworth@yahoo.com



Category/ies:Dominica News.
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