OECS Member States are being further encouraged to consider the advantages of geothermal energy investing given the socio-economic benefits associated with that industry. This comes as regional experts including regional policy makers and members of the International Energy Community assemble in Saint Kitts and Nevis for talks on Geothermal Energy Development in the OECS.
Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis Dr. Hon. Timothy Harris expressed his confidence that the discussion will help realize great benefits for the people in the region: “Significant risks continue to inhibit geothermal development within the region, and these risks can be mitigated through partnerships. That is why we welcome the wide range of representatives we have here representing the CDB, the IDB, the OECS and so on.
“This Regional Geothermal Forum should build on the success of October’s Caribbean Round Table at the GEOLAC in Nicaragua with the World Bank, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the CARICOM Secretariat and the OECS.
“I am pleased to see so many government and development partners here at this special Forum, and I trust that the outcomes of this Forum will form the framework for the Regional Geothermal Strategy moving forward. I call on all of us, and in particular the participants in this Forum, to maintain a purposeful stance towards achieving energy security and energy independence for the Caribbean.
“In closing, I wish this Forum every success and hope that the deliberations over the next two days will bear significant fruit. Successful geothermal development can positively impact energy security within the Eastern Caribbean, indeed within the wider CARICOM community. And I challenge you to make this event, which connects geothermal decision-makers and developers with key international experts, a watershed for a transformed energy future that delivers affordable, reliable, sustainable and clean energy to the citizens of the Caribbean region.”
Also addressing the opening ceremony of the Regional Geothermal Forum at Frigate Bay in Saint Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday May 10 th 2016, host Minister for Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban development and Transport Ian Liburd commended the collective approach by OECS Member States towards effectively managing the region’s Geothermal Resources: “Given the characteristics of geothermal energy and the fact that a majority of countries within the region, which are currently exploring geothermal options, share very similar energy and socio-political profiles, there is merit in pursuing a collective approach to geothermal development.
“Though countries are expected to maintain their respective national geothermal agendas, to include distinct national roadmaps, the collaborative approach can be beneficial to all of us. I therefore applaud the CARICOM and the OECS Secretariats for collaborating and bringing together key stakeholders in geothermal development within the region at this particular Forum. These include governments, international financing institutions, development partners, private investors and other practitioners to identify and promote a regional strategy for optimizing the development of geothermal energy within the respective countries.”
Dominica’s Commissioner to the OECS, Ambassador Felix Gregoire, welcomed the Regional Geothermal Forum as an opportunity for the region to discuss and strategically plan how it can collectively accelerate the success of its geothermal projects: “Ladies and Gentlemen, from my understanding this forum is expected to provide an opportunity for us as a region to discuss and strategically plan how we can collectively contribute to accelerating the success of our geothermal projects.
“Geothermal energy development has the greatest potential to transform the region’s energy landscape not only because of the quantity of resources thought to exist in the region but owing to the inherent characteristics of geothermal power. At a time when the global community is actively searching for clean, affordable energy sources to replace fossil fuels, geothermal energy with its proven availability and reliability is emerging as an option worthy of exploration and investment for the region. It is therefore not surprising that seven out of the ten OECS Members States are following the example of Guadeloupe in trying to develop their geothermal resources. I therefore want to thank the Regional Council of Guadeloupe for their kind offer of sharing their experiences and providing their insights and lessons learned.
“The quality of discourse and the final outputs of events such as this, is of course largely dependent on the participants and resource persons involved. Looking around the room, I am therefore confident that at the end of the three days we would have come up with robust analyses and innovative solutions to our geothermal energy needs. I therefore want to thank all of you participants from government, private sector and from partner institutions and organisations who have seen it fitting to be here today.”
Funding agencies the Inter-American Development Bank Barbados office and the Caribbean Development Bank reassured the gathering of their commitment to working with countries interested in Geothermal Development. The German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Project, the Regional Council of Guadeloupe, as well as, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the Technical Cooperation on Sustainable Energy Deployment in the Caribbean are supporting this initiative.
The Regional Geothermal Forum for Eastern Caribbean States ends on Thursday May 13 th 2016.