Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris and Ian Liburd, Minister of Public Infrastructure, held a bilateral on Saturday with France’s Ambassador to St Kitts and Nevis, Philippe Ardanaz, and French Foreign Trade Advisor, Jacques Chouraki.
During the meeting at Camp Springfield both parties reaffirmed their support for geothermal energy development in the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
“[Hurricane] Irma has triggered some decision in Paris to move forward with stronger support for your project,” Ardanaz, said.
Chouraki, the French Foreign Trade Advisor, is the President of Teranov Geothermal Energy. Teranov, a French engineering and services company for new and renewable energy, specializes in high enthalpy geothermal energy development in the Caribbean and Latin America. The company is based in Guadeloupe and Colombia.
Prime Minister Harris’ administration has been working with Teranov to examine the technical feasibility and economic viability for geothermal power in the country, as it is hoped that, by the year 2020, nearly 100 percent of the electricity supplied in the Federation would be produced from renewable energy sources as opposed to expensive imported fossil fuels.
The Caribbean region’s annual fuel import bill is put around US$9 billion per year.
Against this backdrop, Minister Liburd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Teranov in September 2015 on behalf of the Government, and two months later geothermal exploration exercises began in the Sandy Point area around Brimstone Hill, going to the top of the nearly 3,800 ft. Mount Liamuiga.
Teranov found that there is potential in St Kitts to develop at least 18 to 36 megawatts of geothermal power.
This is significant, partly because geothermal is considered to be an ideal, hurricane-proof source of energy unlike above ground power lines.
“This is a real need for the Caribbean because [devastation from hurricanes] can happen any time again, and we just want to…establish an interconnection with all those islands in the Leeward Islands, to make sure if one is hit by a hrricane it can rely on the energy from surrounding islands – and that’s the basic idea…this is the global picture,” Ardanaz, said.