The Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to fund the next phase in the development of a geothermal power plant on Montserrat.
According to the Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis, the agency will source the funding to engage experts to move the geothermal plant development forward. “This expertise could take the form of a “Client Engineer” that will aid in the formulation of turnkey service for the project,” a release from Lewis’ ministry stated.
Minister Lewis shared that the client engineer is expected to have experience in public private partnerships as it is the proposed way the plant is to be developed. The engineer would be responsible to guide the development of the Montserrat Geothermal Plant Project.
He added that his ministry’s data gathering has revealed that it is possible to get a cheaper cost of power delivery to the consumer and they want to ensure that the public receives the best price on the market.
In August, the minister and his team met with their DFID counterparts on August 28th to finalise the Early Market Engagement (EME)Report. In attendance were Permanent Secretary, Beverley Mendes, Energy Advisor Owen Lewis and DFID representatives Moira Marshall, Allan Clarkin and Iftikhar Ahmad.
According to the press statement released on Wednesday, “there was a common consensus that the Early Market Engagement process was a success. There is a clear indication of interest in Montserrat’s geothermal prospects based on the number of well qualified geothermal players that participated in the exercise. It was further recognized that the current wells developed through investments provided by the UK Government has aided the advancement of Montserrat’s quest for geothermal energy.”
The EME proposed scope of works included, design, engineering, procurement, construction and partial financing services for Montserrat Geothermal 2.5 – 3.5 MW Plant Development.
Minister Lewis said the EME was an attempt to inform and engage the market and secure information.
“All parties were in agreement that the main concept behind the drive for the Geothermal project was to establish economic growth for Montserrat. It is therefore paramount that there is an attractive energy tariff rate to create investors interest in the island and for the local consumers to help improve their standards of living. Both the Government of Montserrat and DFID team have established action points that were agreed in the meeting. These action points will continue to drive the realization of geothermal energy,” said the release.
Meanwhile a final agreement to complete drilling and short-term testing of Mon 3 has not yet been completed with the Iceland Drilling Company (IDC). No word on why the negotiations are still ongoing, as this has been the status since the start of the year.
A final decision on DFID funding contribution of the proposed geothermal plant has not been communicated to the government to date. Both parties have agreed to form a working group to determine how the geothermal project will proceed.