One year after launching the testing phase of its geothermal project, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines says it still expects its first geothermal power plant to be operational by 2017.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves updated Parliament on the project this month as he responded to a question from Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace.
Eustace wanted Gonsalves to indicate the present status with respect to work on the geothermal project initiated by the government.
SVG is partnering with Icelandic firm, Reykjavik Geothermal and the Bill Clinton Foundation to explore and exploit geothermal energy along the country’s volcano, La Soufriere.
Gonsalves said that between December 2014 and June 2015, a technical report will be completed and well and plant site selection will be done and by June 2015.
The details of the business model will be presented by the partners in the initiative and will address matters such as financing, finance funding arrangement, rate of return on investment “and the like”, Gonsalves told lawmakers.
He said there are funds that the government of SVG is shortly to receive, adding that these are “very low interest monies which will enhance the government’s equity inside of the project.
“We are still on target, I have been advised by the Energy Unit, … Barring some extraordinary challenge which may arise, we should be having a production of 10 megawatts by the end of 2017,” Gonsalves said.
My problems with this statement by Gonsalves are of several reasons.
1/ Ralph E. Gonsalves told us that he sometimes tell lies, since then I believe nothing that he says without proof from elsewhere.
2/ Because Gonsalves is in election mode, I believe he is very likely to say anything that will grab the minds of Vincentians to help him get re-elected.
3/ Its my firm belief that seeing as we have seen from the building of the Argyle airport and all the false and unachievable completion dates, that I believe that we must take any dates regarding this project as doubtful , to say the very least.
I would estimate that this project from the final reports and plan, would take between 5 and ten years.
It would be very nice if you are reading this Haz Samuels, as SVGs leading expert on such matters, to give your opinion, even perhaps write a letter of reply.
Perhaps Haz you could also tell us why they would not install such a project on both sides of the volcano at the same time to serve Windward and Leeward each with 10 meg?
What with turning the airport at Arnos Vale into a new city, building a 4 lane highway under Sion Hill to link the two cities, installing sea- defenses at Georgetown to stop the sea encroachment, to replace the temporary Bailey bridges with permanent bridges, to fully repair all our roads, to refund agriculture, to refund tourism, to build a new Hospital to replace the Milton Cato hospital, to finish and maintain the new Argyle airport, to build the Cross Country Road, to build the National Sports stadium at Argyle, to pay all the land owners that had their land stolen by the government, to pay the 60 million dollars owed for years to Kingstown traders, to service the national debt approaching 3 billion dollars, to repay bonds as they reach maturity.
Its I would personally describe as a pipe dream by a fiscal dunce, someone who will say anything to try and keep him and his family in power.
Can you imagine us being 10 billion in debt, because if we allow this regime to continue, that is where we will be heading if only half of the projects are undertaken. But I doubt that any of the projects are any more than re-election rhetoric, what many intelligent people would describe as political bull pschyt.
Build Build Build, that turns to bills bills bills. Hear Nah man, money doesn’t fall from the sky who is going to pay back for all this debt? You mean to tell me for 14 years in office and your government can’t do something about the trade deficit? Putting us young people in debt while you go retire and die we have to suffer for generations to pay it back. And then come brag about fixing roads, and all kinda other nonsense that the government is suppose to do. Vincentians real dotish intruth, always tell them something else coming and they will believe.
It’s also true that developed infrastructure don’t fall from the sky. The building of roads, airports, and power stations are investments in the country’s economic development.
If you build, but do not use it as intended, then, it might become a “white elephant”. However, having modern infrastructure serves to spur economic activity by facilitating internal and external trade and helps to attract foreign investments. Foreign corporations would not come to SVG if it is difficult to reach or if it is inefficient to transport goods in and out of the country. Businesses, both local and foreign, also need a stable and cost-effective power supply.
At the end of the day, the people of SVG need to see such projects as catalysts for a brighter future. They would not automatically bring wealth and it’s true that there might be some short-term pain. However, you need to seize the opportunity and start thinking about ways to take advantage of these investments. Maybe, it’s time for citizens to invest in industries or skills that are related to airports operation, power plant operation, service industries, IT skills, textile manufacturing, manufacturing, etc.
Sure, they cost money in the short term; but, capital infrastructure never make sense in short run, be it in SVG or USA. But in the long-term, they enhance the country’s economic development.
Vincy in Canada
So you think things come for free with your backward comments. You all wants development but yet don’t want to pay for it.
First, the nosedive in oil prices — a movement some analysts say may be permanent partly due to the more efficient use of hydrocarbon products, among many other factors — may well make thermal, solar, and wind power uneconomical. No alternative energy source (nuclear and water power also come to mind) have been able to make a dent in the supremacy of hydrocarbon power.
Second, no government timeline has any credibility. 2017 may as well be 2027.
Third, more borrowed money is nothing to brag about, regardless of the interest rate.
This project should have been done before the Airport, a project like this could actually make money if it’s successful. it is not in the same league as an airport in the least. The issue is that we are broke, and you can’t keep plowing money into infrastructure while people are on their knees. Vincentians can barely support themselves, it’s money from overseas that keep more than half the country functioning. We need money making a money making industry, invest in agriculture and put money back in people pockets so they can feel some ease.The airport has been in construction for almost many years now and still on going. People are not made of stone, they are getting older and many of them are watching there best years wasted just waiting.
You all are confusing development with recklessness, they are not the same thing. Development needs proper planning and risk assessment which we don’t do. So if putting money in Vincentians pocket and have them feel big men and women again so they could stop beg and selling their bodies is backwards then fine.
I am sure when talks about this Geothermal project was first initiated; it was also mentioned that the SVG government had to come up with some initial financing. Kenton should search his archives for that information, because it is important to see where the money is coming from for this project.
I have a problem with Ralph and his pipe dreams that dont go anywhere. First it was the cross country road, and then the airport came along. There was also the Leeward highway project from the hospital to Layou on the Leeward side. Now we have this geothermal idea surfacing at a time when an election is just around the corner. Is this to hide the airport fiasco from the radar?
Then Ralph wants businesses to get ready for the completion of the airport. What he forgot to mention is; when they can expect the airport to be completed. The airport dream is something all Vincentians share, but many of us are more realistic than others. We were blamed for asking questions that should have shown the governments lame duck approach for a project this size. Many of us were blamed for not dreaming hard enough to get the airport completed on time.
Ralph, just like Mitchell, is building a lot of white elephants in the constituencies that support him. How can he build a hospital at one end of the island? Was the cross country road idea to get sick people immediately to the hospital before they die? How can anyone trust Ralph and his lemmings when they talk about new projects? Beats me!
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