BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – NEVIS is one step closer to bearing the fruits of its Geothermal Energy Project with the receipt of US$38 000 from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today (Apr. 22) between the Federal Government and CARICOM paves the way for funds to be distributed towards technical assistance for the burgeoning project. It is the fulfilment of a formal request made by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) to the Federal Government earlier this year.
Federal Minister of Energy, Dr. the Hon. Earl Asim Martin signed the MOU on behalf of the government while CARICOM Secretariat Energy Programme Manager Joseph Williams represented the regional body. A number of CARICOM representatives and NIA officials were also present at Martin’s Office to witness the event.
Martin noted the monies would be used to fulfil five objectives. These include determining the content of technical reports, reviewing these reports to ensure their compliance with geothermal resources regulation, and reviewing all safety and environmental documents with regard to compliance with geothermal regulation.
Additionally, through the MOU, the NIA will be provided with technical advice concerning the most appropriate and efficient use of its geothermal resources. A technical advisor will also meet with the NIA at its request for assistance with any geothermal matter.
The move by CARICOM is consistent with the mandate of its one-year-old Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP), which seeks to create a more harmonised approach to regional energy development.
Williams revealed that another key objective of the programme is to help CARICOM member states remove barriers to the development of alternative sources of energy.
“Issues of policy, financing and capacity-building may prevent countries from exploring renewable energy sources. CREDP’s aim is to help member states remove these barriers so energy development can occur throughout the region. The development in Nevis has exhibited significant leadership in terms of its pace and can serve as an example for other territories with similar resources,” he said.
According to NIA Junior Minister, the Hon. Carlisle Powell, the assistance from CARICOM comes after both the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the OAS have lent support to the project. He stated that geothermal energy development has been an NIA priority since 2007 and reassured that the 2010 deadline for plant operation would be met.
“We have been working towards developing geothermal energy because of the benefits it will bring, such as reduced electricity costs and more jobs for the people of our Federation. We have set clear goals and timelines for the project and we have been taking the steps to ensure they are met.”