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SVG takes step in quest to harness geothermal energy

SVG takes step in quest to harness geothermal energy

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If all goes according to plan, St Vincent and the Grenadines could harness the power of geothermal energy in less than three years.{{more}}

This is according to Thorleifur Finnsson, Head of Project Development at Reykjavik Geothermal (RG), one of the major stakeholders in the quest to secure energy from this country’s La Soufriere volcano.

Finnsson, during his presentation at the Geothermal Energy Development in St Vincent and the Grenadines Conference, held at the National Insurance Services Conference Room on Tuesday, said that from concession rights assessment, to the production of electricity, energy from the earth’s core can become a reality within two and a half years.

The first phase, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between stakeholders, was established in January this year.

“Actually we are in phase two, where we have to go into the site and do the resource assessment.

“Then we have to do financial contracts before drilling, because drilling is a risky thing, and financial contracts need to be written before that.

“And then in phase five and six, we can start drilling the power. As you can see, from today to a power plant doesn’t need to be more than two and a half years, even less time, depending on how fast we can go, or how positive the results are.”

The Iceland native, who pointed out that his country moved from a developing country to developed country after fully harnessing geothermal energy, said that the same can be said for St Vincent and the Grenadines, based on the many advantages to be gained by use of that form of renewable energy.

He said that Iceland moved from using five per cent of geothermal energy to 70 per cent, bringing the country’s use of renewable energy to 85 per cent in a matter of years.

“Geothermal is a low cost energy, and it can compare to gas or hydro.

“It’s a base load power. We have the energy all year round…compared to solar or wind… the capacity factor is over 90 per cent,” Finnsson stated.

“There’s is a similarity between Iceland and St Vincent… we are blessed with a lot of volcanoes and we have harnessed their energy. It is not only renewable, but it is also our own energy.

“It has been a dramatic change economically. Today, it is about 70 per cent of our energy.”

The other major stakeholders in the quest to introduce geothermal energy to St Vincent and the Grenadines pointed out that they are looking forward to the process.

John Harke, representing the Clinton Foundation, as well as Rob G. Belliveau, Senior Vice President of Engineering of Emera, a Halifax, Nova Scotia based energy and services company, said that they are pleased to be a part of the project.

Local stakeholders, mainly the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, led by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonalves also expressed eager anticipation about the next phase of the project.(JJ)

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