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Dominica hopeful of cheaper electricity from geothermal project

The Dominica government says it remains optimistic that the island’s transition to geothermal energy will become a reality in the near future as equipment for the project arrived on the island.

Renewable Energy Minister Dr Vince Henderson, speaking on the state-owned DBS radio, said as Dominica develops and as the economy expands, there was an increasing demand for power supplies.

“We have the capacity here in the Roseau Valley to generate enough power to supply Dominica for the foreseeable future and this is exciting, and this is why the government continues to remain focused,” said Henderson.

“It is not easy, we have had our many challenges, we have had setbacks, but we are not giving up on this because this has the potential to transform Dominica’s energy landscape,” he said.

The 10MW geothermal facility is being developed by the Dominica Geothermal Development Company in Laudat, a small village in the interior of the island, located between three mountains in the Roseau Valley.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit last provided an update on the project during his national budget presentation in July, saying Dominica had already signed a US$33.7-million contract with Iceland Drilling Company to drill two additional wells with actual drilling work to be done towards the end of the year. The government also said the well pads and access roads were being built by ACE engineering under a US$8.5-million contract.

After drilling and testing the well, the project will move forward with the construction of the power plant and while no contractor has been signed for this aspect of the project, the preliminary designs for the plant have already been completed.

The authorities are hoping that the signing of the commercial agreement and construction contract can be done within this year with the construction period expected to last 18 months. The targeted commissioning date for the power plant is 2024.

Henderson told radio listeners that if the cost of energy could be reduced “we can get rid of the fuel surcharge everybody hates (and) we will be in a position to ensure that we can relief households so families can have a break on their electricity bills, businesses can be more profitable”.

He added that because of the low cost of energy “there will be an opportunity for creating new industries around energy produced by geothermal power”.


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