Geothermal A Hot Topic On Tropical Islands

Due to their dependence on imported fossil fuels, small island states typically suffer from high energy costs. However, many islands have a wealth of natural, renewable resources that could be harnessed to meet their energy needs. For example, the island of Dominica, in the Caribbean, is thought to have an abundance of geothermal resources, which could enable it to export energy to neighboring islands.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to fund a $1.1 million technical assistance program aimed at finding out just how big Dominica’s geothermal resources are. The study will also evaluate the feasibility of extending inter-island submarine grid connections to neighboring islands Martinique, to the south, and Guadeloupe, to the north. Subsequent studies will assess the environmental impact of the interconnection.

image via Shutterstock

The funding will complement ongoing work being performed by the Government of Dominica. With support from the European Union and the French Development Agency; the government is currently drilling three test wells in Laudat and Wotten-Waven, in the Roseau Valley. This work will provide insight into the size and quality of geothermal resources that can be harvested on the island.

If all goes well, a 5-megawatt (MW) pilot geothermal power plant will be constructed. The government expects that the well could ultimately support a 20-megawatt (MW) power plant for local use, and a 120-MW plant to produce power for export.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).