Following the lead of some of its Eastern Caribbean neighbours, St Lucia’s government says it is exploring the development of geothermal energy on the island.
As islands like Dominica, Nevis and Montserrat explore geothermal (albeit at varying stages of development), St Lucia says it is moving “very aggressively moving towards developing this geothermal resource,” according to Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Dr James Fletcher.
Any potential geothermal project would be located at the island’s Sulphur Springs, Fletcher said.
“We felt it was important that the government has an idea of the value of that resource,” he said. “So we asked the team from the World Bank to come down to do some investigations, using some of the studies that have already been done on the geothermal facility, at the Sulphur Springs and to do some more intense investigations leading up to some exploratory drilling. We can then quantify that resource which will put us in a much better position when it is time to negotiate with the developer on how we value that resource and what sort of price we attach to the energy that we get out of that resource.”
That site falls within the Piton Management Area, however, a consideration Fletcher said would be crucial to any future project.
“It is important that whatever we do, we do not compromise the integrity of the Piton Management Area,” he said.
So far, the early signs from the World Bank team are “very encouraging,” he said.
“What we heard from the team was very encouraging. They seem to think that we have a very good resource on our hands,” he said. “There are one or two challenges; our Sulphur Springs is a very aggressive chemical environment. The acidity there is quite high and that’s one of the things we have to look at – what would be the best place to drill so that you get around some of the aggressive chemical issues that we have, without compromising the quality of the wells.”