Dr. Samuel Joseph, Deputy Premier and Minister of Communications, Works, Labour, and Energy (MCWLE), told the Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean (GEOLAC), that the nations which are the climate change culprits lack the will to do what is needed to support the region.
Speaking during the OECS panel, at the two-day conference in Mexico earlier this week, Dr. Joseph said space is a factor in why geothermal is a more advantageous move for Montserrat. Solar and wind require substantial amounts of space for the infrastructure, which Montserrat does not have. He said geothermal is the best way as it is proven to be stable and more reliable, along with having the ability to support other economic opportunities.
The minister said that Montserrat, through MCWLE has already looked at other aspects of the value chain. Plans are in the works to collaborate with UK universities to do a full evaluation of the two geothermal wells and other areas to decide on the best way to extract other minerals such as lithium, which can be used in other industries. This, Dr. Joseph said, would add to the economic value chain of the island’s geothermal capacity.
When asked by the moderator what was the reason that the OECS had not advanced much of its geothermal goals, Minister Joseph said finances was the main factor in this.
He disagreed that regional leaders lacked the political will to accelerate geothermal production in the Caribbean. He pointed to the progress in Montserrat and Nevis, both are now in a race to have production wells in use by 2025.
Montserrat, he shared was able to have two wells dug successfully through UK funding. Currently the island is working on the legal framework and the drafting of the geothermal resource act.
The OECS nations, he said, are spending their resources to import fuel which could be used in health services and roads.
The political will in the region is there, Minister Joseph added. However, there has not been more progress because while world leaders go to the COP27 environmental conference and agree that something needs to be done and they are responsible to finance the necessary changes, the money is not forthcoming.
The political will is lacking from those who created the problem in the first place,” Dr. Joseph declared.
During GEOLAC, the OECS and the Caribbean Development Bank presented GEOBUILD, a new project to advance the development of geothermal energy across the Eastern Caribbean.
Montserrat is currently accepting pre-qualification bids to develop its three existing geothermal wells on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) Basis. The deadline for submission is March 29, 2023