A new bill to allow for the exploitation of Montserrat’s geothermal resources has been passed in the Legislative Assembly.
In the April 22, sitting of the house, parliament voted to support the Geothermal Resources Development Bill which supports the governments ongoing efforts to use this national resource to build the island’s economy.
Minister of Energy Dr. Samuel Joseph told the house that the new bill will allow for investors to use the national resource, not only as a source of electricity production but for agriculture and the holistic wellness sector. The bill speaks to the rules and regulations of how it will be managed.
The minister also stated that a committee to manage this new policy will be established to allow for the economic and orderly use; that safe and efficient practices are deployed in the public interest; that there is responsible management of wells and geothermal resources; and to establish controls for pollution and environmental protection.
The Ministry of Communications, Works, Labour and Energy (MCWLE) has been actively pursuing initiatives to restart Montserrat’s geothermal and renewable energy vision. The ministry has a 2030 target for the island to be 100% renewable, even as the wider government has a 2050 date for the same.
Last November, the ministry launched a tender for the exploitation of the geothermal resource. They also contracted a New Zealand company to conduct geothermal wellhead maintenance at the current sites in the Exclusion Zone.
MCWLE said two production-sized wells were drilled and flowed in 2014, with an estimated potential of 2MW. While the initial geothermal exploration steps were taken almost nine years ago, geothermal energy is still seen as the best option to transition Montserrat to 100% renewable energy.
By early April, both MON-1 and MON-2 wells were producing steam and hot fluids.
This was done to show the “continued geothermal potential and bolster the Request For Proposal (RFP) for the Economic Development of Montserrat’s Existing Geothermal Wells