Grenada is one of 5 Caribbean countries that will receive funding to support the development of geothermal exploration in the Eastern Caribbean, under the Caribbean Development Bank’s GeoSmart Initiative.
The GeoSmart Initiative was developed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to provide financing to support sustainable geothermal development in 5 countries — Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. For these countries, the development of geothermal energy could be an alternative to costly and non-renewable imported fuels.
A news release from the CDB said that it has received EUR12 million in grant funding from the European Union Caribbean Investment Facility (EU-CIF) to support the development of geothermal exploration in the Eastern Caribbean, under CDB’s GeoSmart Initiative.
“The EU-CIF funds will be used to provide investment grants in the initial phases, and technical assistance grants to support capacity-building initiatives and interconnection studies,” said the release which explained that the funds will be distributed under 2 components, which are:
- EUR9.5 million will be used to provide investment grants to fund slim-hole drilling services or full-size exploration drilling; and
2.EUR2.2 million will finance capacity strengthening and interconnection feasibility studies
- Capacity Strengthening: Building government capacity by developing a cadre of technical officials who can make critical decisions and manage issues related to geothermal exploration development.
- Feasibility Study – Submarine Interconnection of Electricity Grids: CDB to commission feasibility studies on interconnection options for exporting electricity generated from geothermal resources.
A further EUR300,000 will cover the costs of an audit, evaluation and visibility.
“Geothermal exploration development is key to Eastern Caribbean countries achieving a diversified energy matrix and increased energy security. Although the governments have identified this as a priority, there are significant barriers, which constrain investment and achievement of their objectives. The EU-CIF contribution addresses critical gaps in the Programme by providing grant funding which is especially important in the early stages of geothermal exploration,” said Tessa Williams Robertson, Head, Renewable Energy / Energy Efficiency Unit, CDB.
The release said that CDB’s GeoSmart Initiative targets the establishment of up to 60 megawatts of geothermal energy generating capacity in the 5 Eastern Caribbean countries. This is expected to reduce dependence on imported oil across these countries by up to an estimated 722,000 barrels per year.