Exploratory drilling of Geothermal well begins (+Videos)
Forty years ago, La Soufriere volcano chased persons away from its environs, but today, it is drawing people close.
Yesterday, May 6, exploratory drilling of geothermal wells at Bamboo Range, Orange Hill began under the direction of the St Vincent Geothermal Company Limited, which is owned by Reykjavik Geothermal and the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Speaking at a ceremony held to officially announce the launch of the drilling operations, North Windward parliamentary representative Montgomery Daniel told the gathering that when history is written, it will show May 6 as the beginning of a new era in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), the era of geothermal energy.
“Forty years ago, the La Soufriere volcano erupted, causing tremendous pain and suffering to the people. Thousands were homeless and encountered severe nomadic actions for some six months.
“At that time, the volcano was monstrous, it was thunderous and heartless to the core. Many who ran from these areas ran to areas of safety and never returned,” said Daniel who added that in 1902, some 2000 people lost their lives as a result of the eruption.
“We remember very well this volcano was very monstrous, but 40 years later, many of us have come to the foot of its mountains on a mission to witness the removal of a valuable resource that can improve the standard of living for all our people and can bring about greater levels of sustainability to our environment,” said Daniel, who noted that science has proven that geothermal energy can be used to better people’s livelihood.
Daniel added that the area is called Lot 14, one of the four estates that made up the Orange Hill estate and traditionally, the area is well known for its agricultural activity and high agricultural output.
“But today, this area has been transformed dramatically. This project, the geothermal project, has certainly brought about a new life and new meaning to this area,” said Daniel who added that Lot 14, to him, is like a developing city.
“This project in my opinion is quite a meaningful project to this country, and no doubt this project will bring about well needed jobs for the people in this area,” Daniel told the gathering.
He added also that the project will bring cheaper energy to the country while it can add to the tourism product where guides can bring persons to the Chatoyer National Park in Rabacca, the geothermal plant at Bamboo Range and end with a hike to the La Soufriere volcano.
“Immediately, this project has tremendous potential,” stressed Daniel.
The project is expected to bring renewable energy in the country to about 73 per cent of total power generation, well above the 60 per cent target of the SVG’s Energy Action Plan.
Daniel said we owe it to the environment to embrace renewable energy and help fight emission issues.
“We are the guardians of our sustainable world and in an age of globalization and industrialization where emissions and pollution are frequent and dangerous to our future survival, we as guardians have to understand our own developmental context and thus to bring about initiatives and actions to improve greater levels of our own sustainability,” said the area representative.
The launch also heard addresses by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves; International Development Bank (IDB) country representative Juan Carlos De La Hoz Vinas; deputy high commissioner British High Commission Craig Fulton; vice president operations Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Monica LaBennett; chief executive officer (CEO) Reykjavik Geothermal Gudmundur Thoroddson; and CEO of VINLEC Thornley Myers.
Gonsalves noted that the geothermal plant, once operational, could bring about a reduction in our electricity bills.