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Dominica to finalise geothermal plant design, seeks World Bank financing

Published:Tuesday | August 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit.

The Dominica government says it is seeking funding from the World Bank and other international lending agencies as it presses ahead with its geothermal development project.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the government has established the Dominica Geothermal Development Company (DGDC) to move ahead with the construction of a geothermal plant. A project manager was recruited for DGDC in June.

Meantime, the designs for the plant are progressing and should be completed by the third quarter of 2017.

Skerrit, who is also finance minister, said funding for the project will come from various sources, and that his government will contribute EC$40.5 million.

"In addition to government's contribution, we have secured all the funds required to construct the plant from our development partners," he said, noting that it includes EC$30 million from the United Kingdom, EC$5.4 million from New Zealand and EC$5.4 million from SIDS DOCK, which is an alliance of small island states.


Applied for grant funding


Dominica has also applied for grant funding from the United Arab Emirates Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund and is expecting between EC$8.1 million and EC$13.5 million to fund a battery storage system to be used on the national electricity grid.

Dominican is also seeking a loan of EC$16.2 million from the World Bank at a concessionary rate of 0.75 per cent, a 10-year grace period and 44-year repayment plan, Skerritt said.

In the meantime, the environmental and social impact assessment for the geothermal project is ongoing in the Roseau valley.

"Every effort will be made to ensure that adverse impacts on the communities and the environment will be mitigated," he said, adding that landowners in the area can also expect to be compensated for use of their property and support will be provided to residents who occupy lands to ensure that they are not left worst off, the prime minister said.

Once the geothermal plant is built and commissioned, DGDC will sell power to Dominica Electricity Company (DOMLEC) under a power purchase agreement.

"So far, I have been advised, that based on the regulations of the Independent Regulatory Commission, DOMLEC must pass on the lower tariff to the consumer," said Skerrit. "That is to say, DOMLEC is not allowed to add to the cost at which the power will be sold. This will ensure that the lower cost of electricity from geothermal will pass through to the consumers of our country," the prime minister said.