The St. Lucia government says it will use a two million US dollar grant from the World Bank to fund surface exploration, transactions and negotiations as it seeks to develop the island’s geothermal potential.
The Kenny Anthony administration said it is encouraged by the recent receipt of grants from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Small Island Developing States Renewable Energy project (SIDS DOCK), facilitated by the World Bank.
The GEF and SIDS DOCK, through the World Bank, have approved the two million dollars towards the first phase of geothermal development assistance project.
“These funds will provide support for surface exploration, as well as for transaction and negotiations assistance in order to help the government of St. Lucia reach a fair and equitable concession agreement with the geothermal developer.
“It will also facilitate agreements on off-take and integration of geothermal power within the domestic power market, for which LUCELEC (St. Lucia Electricity Company) currently has exclusivity,” a government statement said.
It said the funds would also go towards developing and issuing several key policies and associated regulations, including mainstreaming the National Utility Regulatory Commission (NURC) as the primary regulatory body for electricity generation and supply in St. Lucia.
The government said the funds would also be used to undertake environmental and social evaluations, as well as effective community engagements, in line with international standards.
“This latter undertaking is critical, given the proximity of the areas proposed for geothermal exploration to the Piton Management Area (PMA), which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” it said, noting that the government has “has already taken steps towards securing funding support for the second, high-risk phase of exploratory drilling, and is working closely with the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and other international funding sources like the Climate Investment Fund”
The government says the second phase of the geothermal project is estimated at US$20 and $30 million.