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SVG seeks funding for geothermal project from Abu Dhabi

SVG seeks funding for geothermal project from Abu Dhabi

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As this country moves towards finding cleaner sources of energy, financial support for such projects continues to be of extreme importance.

At his first press conference for 2015, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves revealed that he will leave the state{{more}} next Friday, January 16, to attend the fifth assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi.

Gonsalves said during the two-day conference he is expecting that an announcement will be made about an application made by St Vincent and the Grenadines for funding for the geothermal project being undertaken in St Vincent and the Grenadines, in partnership with Icelandic company Reykjavik Geothermal and Emera.

“There’s a fund called the ‘Abu Dhabi Development Fund’, which has about US$350 million for over a period of seven years for applications to be made to it in terms of renewable energy,” the Prime Minister explained.

“We made an application on what is called the second cycle of funding; the first cycle was last year. We made an application through IRENA to the Abu Dhabi Development Fund for US$15 million. It’s a low interest rate, long term; good money to borrow to be part of our equity in the geothermal project.”

Although 80 countries have applied for funding in this second cycle, only eight countries will be chosen to receive funds.

Saying he is not certain if St Vincent and the Grenadines will receive financial support, Gonsalves has, however, noted that the funding can play an integral role in the first phase of this country’s geothermal project.

“If you are leading, you have to look at the spaces which possibly exist to get the requisite financing. Sometimes it might be grant funding; sometimes very low cost funding for different sectors and the energy sector is a critical one. Why is it important that we have equity resources in it, either of a grant funding kind or of really low cost loans, very soft loans, very low rates of interest over a long period of time, is that the more resources that we ourselves put into the project — which is a joint venture — the more equity that we have in it, means when we come to discuss pricing and payback that we will have a better deal for ourselves than if it is done without resources coming from us,” the Prime Minister said.

Gonsalves also disclosed that the director of the Energy Unit, Ellsworth Dacon, had played a vital role in the preparation of documents for the event and will also be attending the meeting in Abu Dhabi.(BK)

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