Montserrat pins hopes on geothermal

Geothermal energy production site in Montserrat with drilled well.
Geothermal energy production site in Montserrat with drilled well.

GEORGE’S HILL, Montserrat – Premier Donaldson Romeo, the head of government business, is hoping for spin-offs from local geothermal energy production, he said during a phone interview from Miami with ZJB Radio.

Romeo said the geothermal product would create the environment necessary for investments on the island.

The premier’s statements follow his attendance of an investment forum in the U.S. He suggested the extra electricity and bi-products of geothermal production should attract industries and create much-needed foreign exchange.

“In the very area where the production would be located, there is a possibility for companies who use the steam to exist side by side, take advantage of that extra steam that is going to be wasted. But in addition to that I think what excites me most is that at present we are shipping out tons and tons of aggregate, the base for cement-based products and I look forward to the day when we will be shipping out products where we add value to this massive tonnage of materials that come out of the volcano.

“For instance if we were to do cement boards – the boards we use in bathrooms and wooden structures and wherever, sheet rock type material – imagine sending a barge out loaded with that material, how much more value would have been added and how much employment would be created,” he concluded.

Funded by the U.K. government, the island is preparing to drill of a third well in its quest to develop geothermal energy. According to statements made last year by Martin Dawson, local representative of the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), EC$17.6 million (US$ 6.5 million) has been allocated for the project, which is intended to develop the potential yield of geothermal energy available on the island.

The current project involves ongoing exploration and the government is seeking potential investors to manage the generation and sale of the energy. In 2013, two other wells were drilled and evaluations concluded that the maximum yield would be about 1.5 MW per well.

It is hoped that along with the geothermal power plant, the three drilled wells will provide between 2-5 MW of electricity to Montserrat.