Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 13, 2016 (SKNIS): The high cost of energy production in the Eastern Caribbean and the commitment to reduce carbon emissions have forced many countries to look to renewable sources with geothermal taking the spotlight this week at a three-day regional forum in St. Kitts and Nevis.
At present, countries including St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Montserrat, Grenada and Dominica are actively pursuing geothermal development, with Dominica being the most advanced in terms of the level of work that it has done so far and where it is relative to the others.
While appearing on the Government’s weekly radio and television programme “Working for You” on Wednesday, May 11, Dr. Devon Gardener, Programme Manager for Energy and Head of Energy Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana, said Caribbean islands can produce their own power.
“The fact is that at the end of the day in terms of our energy requirements, [and] energy demand, we are the ones to produce power that we can then convert to other energy services,” he said, noting that it can be by heating or cooling sources. “And there is a lot of interest in looking at these lower temperature geothermal opportunities for providing heat that can drive cooling or heating systems.”
Dr. Gardener formed part of the Regional Geothermal Forum team that was in the Federation reviewing the development of geothermal energy in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and its prospects for economic and sustainable contributions.
The forum which concluded on Thursday, May 12, was organized by the CARICOM Secretariat and the OECS Commission in collaboration with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The Sustainable Energy Facility (SEF) for the Eastern Caribbean took the initiative to fund renewable energy including geothermal power, energy efficiency and institutional capacity projects in six Eastern Caribbean countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines
According to a release from SEF, in October 2015, Presidents Alberto Moreno of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Dr. William Warren Smith of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) signed a US$71.5 million loan and grant package which were approved by IDB and CDB. The signing occurred at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami ahead of the start of the Annual Caribbean Renewable Energy Conference.