Honorable Minister for Energy, Ian Douglas, has declared that Dominica has the resources to build a geothermal development program as a country.
The Energy Minister supported the decision announcedby the Honourable Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, to establish a domestic geothermal plant through a special purpose vehicle (S.P.V).
The Honourable Prime Minister during his presentation stated that Government will establish a company to build a seven megawatt geothermal plant in two stages of 3.5 megawatt each.
Over $46m will be allocated to cover the project costs for over a two year period.
Honourable Douglas said, “We have tremendous technical assistance from consultants around the world. The New Zealand Government continues to work with us and yesterday you heard in the budget that the Clinton Climate Initiative which worked with us in the past provided legal consultants. When the Bill was being drafted they continued to work with us.
"We have to provide DOMLEC with that power because DOMLEC controls the grid. Whoever owns, runs and generates the power to put onto the grid must interface with DOMLEC. You have to decide at what price you can sell the power… you have to bear in mind that you cannot sell the power to DOMLEC very expensively because they will pass it on to the consumer throughthe tariff.
We have to ensure that the end, the tariff is at a price which makes sense to the man at his home who wants to switch his light on to play his television and his stereo. All of these factors must be taken into consideration because if the price of electricity from the geothermal energy is more than the consumer can afford then you have defeated the purpose of geothermal development.”
The Energy Minister pointed to the potential to export energy, generate revenue and create employment through geothermal development among other benefits which he declared are a perfect example of sustainable use of the Citizenship by Investment funds.
“We are in the soft period where some of these negotiations must be put in place while we continue to develop the plant. What size of generators do we need to translate geothermal power into electric power to put on the lines? What type of turbines do we need to pump the steam out of the ground, to separate the water from the steam and to use the steam to turn the turbines to generate geothermal energy? The issues people don’t see are being worked on. This is why now we can tell them about the company being formed.
"The geothermal law which is called the Bill governs what you can legally do when it comes to geothermal energy. This had to be worked on by the Geothermal Unit and by the Ministry of Energy and also sent to the Attorney General's chambers so he along with the lawyers in the Ministry of Legal Affairs could turn all of that into a Bill. So when people don’t hear and see anything happening it is not because we have forgotten about the programme it is because we want to ensure that the best programme is developed for the benefit of the ordinary man in Dominica.”
The Hon Prime Minister during his presentation explained that once the plant is operational the services of a qualified operation and maintenance contractor will be secured.
The Geothermal Development Bill will establish the legal framework for the development of geothermal energy in Dominica and will be submitted to Parliament at its next sitting.