BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Wednesday November 11, 2015 —Teranov, a French engineering and services company for new and renewable energy based in Guadeloupe, has started geothermal exploration exercises in St. Kitts.
Five geoscientists are in the island conducting feasibility studies in geophysics, geology and geochemistry.
President of Teranov, Jacques Chouraki, says the prospects for geothermal energy on St. Kitts are promising.
“The initial results look pretty good but, of course, it’s too early to say what will be valuable…It’s a long process. We have decided to invest a lot of manpower in this project in order to speed up the process so that as quickly as possible the St. Kitts population will be able to know exactly if there are geothermal resources available or not,” Chouraki said.
In September of this year, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport Ian “Patches” Liburd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Teranov, which includes a road map that can possibly see the production of geothermal energy in 2020.
Minister Liburd said the decision to start geothermal exploration on St. Kitts came against the backdrop of high cost of fossil fuel imports under the PetroCaribe agreement with Venezuela.
“As a matter of fact, from 2007 to 2008, the Government owes PetroCaribe or Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A (PDVSA) some US$22 million of which some US$7 million is due. Between 2008 and 2011, the Government racked up a debt of some US$45 million owed to PDVSA. As we speak, St. Kitts Electricity Company Limited (SKELEC) owes PDVSA some US$16 million out of which US$6 million or US$7 million is current,” he said.
Liburd underscored that fossil fuel costs are very exorbitant and to continue developing and to ensure economic growth, Government must adopt a policy of renewable energy, because “we are blessed with sunshine, we are blessed with wind and in the federation of two islands we have two volcanoes.”
He disclosed that during the upcoming sitting of Parliament, the regulatory framework will be laid with the tabling and first reading of the St. Christopher Electricity Act which is being amended to accommodate alternative energy, feeding tariffs, net billing, and solar, wind and geothermal energy “to speed up so to speak so we can address our new way going forward in terms of energy production in St. Kitts and Nevis”.
Chairman of the Board of SKELEC, Mr. Errol Liburd, who is an engineer by profession, said that geothermal energy will result in lower electricity generation cost that will redound to the benefit of the consumer.