World Bank approves US$21.9 Million for geothermal exploration in St Lucia
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on July 28 US$21.9 million for the Renewable Energy Sector Development Project for St Lucia.
This grant financing will help the Government of St Lucia assess the viability of its geothermal resources for power generation and strengthen the business environment for the private sector to pursue clean energy projects.
“This project will help the country evaluate how geothermal energy can contribute to the country’s national energy mix. Clean energy from geothermal sources can improve electricity system reliability and reduce the cost of oil imports. Transitioning to renewable energy would also decrease the country’s vulnerability to the volatility of fuel markets.” said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
“The future development of geothermal energy, informed by the activities financed by this project, will translate into lower electricity costs for households and businesses.”
High electricity prices in St Lucia are an impediment to economic competitiveness and growth. Over 55 percent of firms identify the high cost of electricity as a major constraint to doing business in St Lucia. While electricity is supplied reliably, the country remains almost completely dependent on expensive imported fuels for diesel-based generation. Securing clean and resilient energy will also help the country to achieve a green economic recovery, in line with St Lucia’s Economic Recovery Resilience Plan.
The project will support exploratory drilling, capacity building, technical assistance, and market engagement. The project will also prepare women for employment for technical jobs within the energy sector by giving them access to educational programs and employment opportunities.
This project is financed by the Canada Clean Energy and Forests Climate Facility; the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; the Clean Technology Fund; as well as funds from the International Development Association (IDA). IDA financing is interest-free with a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.