BRADES – Montserrat is on a mission to be known as the Centre of Excellence for Green Energy among the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).
So says the Honourable Minister of Communications and Works Paul Lewis following his attendance at the first Energy Summit for OCTA held in Brussels June 16 – 18, 2015. The summit was part of Belgium’s Energy Week and brought together the 21 Energy ministers and technicians from all of the overseas countries and territories connected to the European Union.
Minister Lewis presented “Turning Disaster into Opportunities: The case of Montserrat and Geothermal Energy” during the summit. He told Discover that while all of the Caribbean territories have identified green initiatives they wish to take on board, Montserrat has made more progress having begun geothermal energy exploration. Several territories including the British Virgin Islands, Curacao and the Cayman Islands have expressed interest in visiting the island to see what has been achieved and learn from the process here.
The minister noted that with all of the data and research already done on green energy for Montserrat, having an Energy Unit to manage access to it could have benefits for the island. He added that the goal is for Montserrat to attain the EU target of 100% renewable energy by 2020.
Work is progressing on the development of a third well to explore geothermal energy. Lewis believes that it will be approved before the end of the year and estimates that by 2018 we will be using geothermal energy for daily use. He explained that the vision is to use geothermal energy to manage the base loads for Montserrat with another renewable source such as solar power being used to handle the peaks.
“We will have the medium speed generators as backup but we aim to lower the cost of energy by reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Currently the fuel surcharge is 66% of what is paid and we want want to make Montserrat more attractive to investors,” the minister said. Presently Montserrat has one of the highest rates for energy in the Caribbean.
The four areas of renewable energy that Montserrat has identified for exploration are wind, photovoltaics (PV), Solar Thermal and Geothermal.