Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Dominica to build geothermal plant despite hiccups

Published:Wednesday | October 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dominica says it will move ahead with plans to develop a small geothermal plant despite a few "hiccups'' with investors.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking on the Geothermal Development Resources Bill in Parliament on Monday, said his administration "will go it alone" on the project.

"As you know, we have been negotiating with different groups of people. That did not come through, and I think in retrospect .... they have other considerations like any partnership," Skerrit told legislators.

He said the government "will take on the risk associated with the construction of the plant", while noting that it should been seen as an opportunity for Dominica to have full ownership of the asset and the country's geothermal resources.

Once the plant is constructed, Rousea will float 50 per cent of the company, allowing the public to acquire shares in the business.

In September, Dominica and New Zealand signed a US$1.5 million partnership agreement to support the construction of a seven megawatt geothermal plant in Dominica.

The agreement was signed between Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francine Baron and her New Zealand counterpart Murray McCully.

A statement said then that the new partnership would expand the technical assistance and be based on an implementation time frame of 2016 to 2019. It would include technical advice for the front-end engineering and design, project management support to help progress the project, and an environmental and social impact assessment.

It would also include the secondment of a project manager to the Dominica Geothermal Company, who will coordinate all activities to execute the project for a period of up to 24 months once the contract has been signed.

The assistance from the Government of New Zealand will provide Dominica with the technical expertise required to realise construction of the power plant, which is scheduled for commissioning in 2019.