Geothermal energy drilling by 2018
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
by Ministry of Sustainable Development
Consultants will first carry out environmental assessments to decide whether to proceed with exploratory drilling.

Saint Lucia is on target to begin geothermal exploratory drilling.

Recently completed surface exploration studies, designed to better understand Saint Lucia's geothermal resource conditions, suggest that the resource exists outside of both the Sulphur Springs area and the Piton Management Area (PMA).

This is good news as earlier concerns about threats to the integrity of the PMA by this project will now be precluded.

The final technical report on these surface exploration activities is being discussed at a series of geothermal meetings held this week, from April 12 - 14, at the Bay Gardens Inn, Rodney Bay.

In addition, meetings will be held between LUCELEC and the proposed geothermal developer to reach consensus on a term sheet towards the signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and a term sheet between the Government of Saint Lucia and the geothermal developer to reach consensus on a Geothermal Development Agreement (GDA). The meetings will further advance the Geothermal Resource Development Project.

The development of a geothermal resource is in keeping with government’s policy objective to reduce Saint Lucia’s dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation. In 2014, Saint Lucia committed to achieving a national target of meeting 35 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by the year 2020. The Government of Saint Lucia envisages that developing the country’s geothermal resource is a key strategy and a practical way to meet its sustainable energy target.

In light of this policy objective, the Government obtained financial assistance and technical support from a number of development partners to advance efforts towards the development of the country’s geothermal resource. The World Bank assisted Saint Lucia in accessing approximately US$2 million from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the SIDS DOCK Support Program for the Geothermal Resource Development Project.

Technical assistance valued at US$800,000 was received from the Government of New Zealand and US$500,000 of in-kind support was received from the Clinton Climate Initiative to assist this initiative.

The Government of Saint Lucia has secured the services of a consultant to assist with the ongoing negotiations with a qualified geothermal developer, to invest in the geothermal wells, the steam gathering system and the geothermal power plant. In addition, government is in the process of securing the services of consultants, who will carry out an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) including public consultations, as well as a pre-feasibility assessment to decide whether to proceed with the exploratory drilling stage.

It is expected that this phase of the Geothermal Development Project should be completed by the first quarter of 2017, with a view to commencing exploratory drilling in a new resource development area by 2018.