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Wrong side of the island was chosen for geothermal project – Cummings

Wrong side of the island was chosen for geothermal project – Cummings
Parliamentary representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings

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Studies done under the New Democratic Party (NDP) administration show that the prospects for geothermal energy are better in North Leeward than on any other part of the island.

Parliamentary representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings made this pronouncement earlier this week while speaking on BOOM FM’s OMG in the Morning radio programme with host Dwight “Bing” Joseph.

Cummings, the Opposition spokesperson on matters of this nature said when Jeremiah Scott was Minister of Works under the NDP administration of 1984 to 2001, a study was done on geothermal energy.

He said the studies showed that the best prospect for geothermal energy was on the North Leeward side of the island where they are hot springs, while the hydrogeological and seismic analyses also showed good potential for geothermal energy there.

“There is no prospect for geothermal energy as contrived by the ULP (Unity Labour Party) in North Windward,” Cummings stated, while noting that the NDP fully supported geothermal exploration, but from day one told the government the wrong site had been chosen.

Cummings said while the NDP supported the project on principle, they always had issues with the site. He also noted that anywhere in the world where there is geothermal exploration, there is a 50 per cent chance of success, so exploratory wells are usually drilled first before moving to production wells.

“I wanted to know why they chose North Windward. But we know the obvious answer,” said Cummings who added that he is of the opinion that Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves ignored what the technical people said.

“…That is one of the main reasons why we are in this dilemma today because one man thinks he alone must make the decision; forget about what the experts say,” Cummings said.

Gonsalves is the parliamentary representative for North Central Windward, which is near Bamboo Range, where the exploration took place.

“Another confusing decision is that we decided we had a game changer and went straight for the production well instead of a test well and after we drilled three, we came out and said it was a possibility…and that was misleading.

“When you go down over a mile almost anywhere in the country, the heat is there, but the question is if you can extract the heat,” Cummings said.

On Tuesday, Project Director of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Geothermal Project, Ellsworth Dacon said while the geothermal project at Bamboo Range generated heat of 250 degrees Celsius, enough needed for geothermal energy, because there is insufficient permeability, the project would not be economically viable.

The drilling equipment has been moved from the site and will be transported overseas. Dacon said other options for geothermal energy are being explored.

“We would not have drilled in North Windward and the reason is that the presence of hot springs (in North Leeward) suggests that there are fissures in the rocks and that’s what you want. If you go around the world these areas are what you choose,” Cummings stressed.

“It was politically prudent,” he said, in relation to why North Windward was chosen, while adding that he is not celebrating the failure of the project because the country has lost millions of dollars and the opportunity for cheaper electricity which can be a catalyst for growth.

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