Regional energy stakeholders on site visit at Bouillante in Guadeloupe
Bouillante Geothermal Plant, Guadeloupe
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Financing and government policy have been identified as the major challenges to the development of geothermal energy in the Eastern Caribbean. That’s one of the findings of a Survey conducted by the Energy Unit of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission. The survey gathered the views of 86 persons involved in geothermal energy, half of whom were based in the OECS region.
The respondents of the survey were geothermal stakeholders working with or with an interest in geothermal energy in the OECS region. Most of the OECS respondents (82%) were employees of government or utility companies pursuing geothermal energy initiatives. With respect to non-OECS respondents, almost 50% were private sector geothermal experts with past experience working on geothermal projects.
There was clear consensus amongst all survey participants that finance and government policy are the main challenges to geothermal energy development in the region. These were followed closely by competition from other energy sources, and technological issues.
The majority of survey participants would like to see the establishment of a regional mechanism to support geothermal development in the region. The geothermal stakeholders are convinced that such a mechanism would be beneficial to the industry, especially as it relates to policy, legislation, and regulations.
All countries of the Eastern Caribbean are almost totally dependent on imported fossil fuels, despite their significant potential for renewable energy such as solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal. In recent years geothermal energy has emerged as a priority for the OECS region. Currently, seven of the ten OECS member states are working towards the development of their geothermal resources. The scientific evidence shows a strong potential for development as countries continue to assess and quantify their geothermal potential.
In keeping with one of the recommendations of the survey, the OECS Commission is establishing a regional database of geothermal experts and companies.