CDB receives EU funding to support geothermal energy development

Friday, October 27, 2017

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has received euro 12 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, the CDB said in a news release.

The GeoSmart Initiative was developed by CDB to provide financing to support sustainable geothermal development in five 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.

“Geothermal exploration development is key to Eastern Caribbean countries achieving a diversified energy matrix and increased energy security,” the release quotes Tessa Williams Robertson, head of the CDB's Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Unit. “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.”

The EU-CIF funds will be distributed under two components:

1. Euro 9.5 million will be used to provide investment grants to fund slim-hole drilling services or full-size exploration drilling; and

2. Euro 2.2 million will finance capacity-strengthening and interconnection feasibility studies.

The capacity-strengthening portfolio will build government capacity by developing a cadre of technical officials who can make critical decisions and manage issues related to geothermal exploration development.

The feasibility study component will facilitate submarine interconnection of electricity grids and allow the CDB to commission feasibility studies on interconnection options for exporting electricity generated from geothermal resources.

A further Euro 300,000 will cover the costs of an audit, evaluation and visibility.

CDB's GeoSmart Initiative targets the establishment of up to 60 megawatts of geothermal energy-generating capacity in the five Eastern Caribbean countries. This is expected to reduce dependence on imported oil across these countries by up to an estimated 722 thousand barrels per year.

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