A contract was signed on Monday morning to begin the drilling of two full sized geothermal wells in the Roseau Valley area.

The contract was signed between the Iceland Drilling Company and the Government of Dominica at a cost of eighteen point one million dollars.

One production well will be drilled in Laudat and a reinjection well is planned for Lily Valley, Trafalgar.

Prime Minister Hon Roosevelt Skerrit remarked that Government is aware of the many projects that could have been funded with these funds but a conscious decision was taken to invest in this programme which, if successful, promises long-term economic benefit.

“So far the Government of Dominica has injected over 33 million Eastern Caribbean dollars into this geothermal project.  That is being done at a time when the entire world, Dominica included is battling with a global economic crisis and scarcity of financial resources but the demands on Government have not reduced.  In fact they have increased during this particular period.  What else could we have done with thirty-three million dollars,  several things: some parts of the country require better road networks, there are still several citizens who require better housing, we need to improve on our delivery of health services,  farm access roads require some attention...  the list can go on.  The Government believes, however, that this investment in the geothermal programme will help us in the future to address all of these challenges.  It will see, God willing, a reduction in the energy cost to our citizens and investors in our country and equally important we would be in a position to export energy to Martinique and Guadeloupe with the consequent result of having an increase in our foreign exchange earnings.”

Minister for Public Works Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore highlighted that the objective of the entire geothermal initiative is to first offer relief to electricity consumers on the island.

“The consumer pays more than a dollar... about a dollar fifty per kilowatt hour currently with an average of thirty-three cents in surcharge. If we were to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels we could almost do away with that ridiculously high surcharge. Already we have a mix of thirty per cent (of our energy supply) coming from hydro-electricity and the rest comes from fossil fuels. If we can get to a point where we have geo-thermal energy and hydro-electricity with generators as backup, we will be well on the way to having a clean and green environment insofar as energy generation is concerned,” he said.

Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Valley Constituency, Hon Dr Colin McIntyre also spoke at that signing ceremony stating that the geothermal energy initiative can no longer be described as potential but as a reality.

He noted that the economic activity expected from the drilling will mean great things for his constituency and the country.

“Over the last couple of months and beyond that we had a number of test wells being drilled in the Roseau Valley –in Laudat and Wotten Waven. Though the level of investment was small [referring to the duration of the project] it generated quite a bit of activity in the Roseau Valley. We are now on the move to drill these two production wells and I see this as a major source of investment and activity again in the Roseau Valley. Looking now ahead to what’s coming: the level of investment and Government plans to produce that sort of energy. I see it as a great opportunity for investment in Dominica in terms of lowering the cost of green, environmentally-friendly energy that can really take our country to the next level,” he explained.

The well drilling work is expected to commence by June 2013.