The geothermal project drill site in July 2019. (Lance Neverson/Facebook file photo)

The geothermal energy project that the Ralph Gonsalves government had hoped would have produced electricity to the extent that it would be exported to Barbados could be scrapped.

Gonsalves said, on Wednesday, that the wells dug on the slopes of the La Soufriere volcano have produced the heat but not the permeability needed for electricity generation at the required level.

“There has to be a testing to see how many megawatts you are going to get. Clearly, given a lack of sufficiency of the permeability, you are not going to get the predicted geothermal output, so the question would be at a much lower output whether it makes sense to go through with the project,” Gonsalves said.

The prime minister said his government is awaiting the testing equipment.

“We are finished the drilling. The problem as I outlined to Parliament, the real problem we have, is that question for the permeability of the rocks is a real problem.

“The presence of the geothermal source, undoubtedly there, the heat, quite in order, over 250 degrees Celsius, so it’s a good geothermal resource, except for the important issue of the permeability because it has to come through — the geothermal resource has to come through the rocks coming up and you don’t have that extent of permeability,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said that there is another form of technology that is being considered.

“There is a Canadian firm which is involved and the technical people are pursuing that but there is a question of the testing to see the extent of what we can get. But, clearly, [it] is not going to be what was envisaged before. But as I said, there is another form of technology to help to get around the permeability issue.”

The prime minster said that this technology would require particular resources.

He said that whether the Inter-American Development Bank or the Caribbean Development Bank or the Caribbean Development Bank would be prepared to make the resources available as grants for the project is left to be seen.

“… well, CBD is not going to put the resources through grant,” Gonsalves said.

He said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has only spent about $600,000 of its own resources on project management, which is, thus far, the country’s contribution to the project.

“So I want to make that plain because all the rest monies were either grant monies or contingent grants and from different sources where those who were granting the money knew that the resource was there but because we couldn’t ourselves borrow money to do the drilling, we had the grants for the drilling and once that drilling was successful we would then be involved with grants to ensure the production and everything. So that’s where we are.”

12 replies on “SVG considering ‘whether it makes sense’ to continue geothermal project”

  1. This is another failure of the ULP waste of the country money . Who paying back the millions spent ?We need accountability ASAP .Then Sheon marshall talking bull crop on luke show the other day .How does these people sleep and which God does they served? We are totally fed up of all the lies and promises by the ULP go now.

    1. Which God do they served? They serve God Almighty which said, occupy until, I return and do not site idle by doing not to try improve the well being of the nation people and reduce our dependency on oil imports. I rather see a government make a step of faith without fear then a government who sit on their behind and do nothing because they fear to make a step of faith because of the unknown and fear of failure. If the human race had in them the fear to discover and fear to invent things, we be still, using horse and carriage and crossingthe ocean on wooden planks. So I will conclude to say then, the NDP, with their glooms and dooms, will not take leap of faith to do nothing because of fear of the unknown and fear of failure. I wonder what you would have accomplished in your life, if you had fear to move forward from a child to an adult. Or whatever you accomplish in youf life, will you have accomplished it by sitting on your booty doing nothing? or fear to invest money to build a house because you fear the roof will blow off by a hurricane?

      1. Ye who gave eyes to see let them see and ye who have ears to hear let them hear what the prophet of the land say .Some ppl just wicked and would say anything to eat a food whole the masses suffer .

  2. I always said the grand opening was a bad idea. Nothing is wrong with exploring new energy sources but shut the hell up until you know for sure what you are doing. Dumbest thing ever

  3. Gonsalves, you clearly don’t know what you are talking about and, you’re lying. This is what is understand when I read your comments. You are a character who has to be introduced with violin music in minor in the background. Another interpretation would be. You put 600.000 US$ into a project and your partners put up the rest, Their sums of money are probably insured or tied up in some dividend abroad. Gonsalves if you ever want to say you done something for SVG(at least in your own constituency) Don’t worry come talk bout you are the looser. What about the equipment are they going to be left to rust if you don’t win reelection? For once think about this country and not yourself.

  4. Bill Johnney says:

    Jeff you seems to be short sighted or have selective memory. Can you kindly list all the failed projects under the ULP and then list them under the NDP. One can easily remember one of the biggest failed projects in the history of SVG is that Ottley hall project abs we could have been paying back millions today if it wasn’t for the tireless efforts of Ralph Gonsalves to get debt forgiveness. One will agree that the geothermal project was an excellent one, it just turn out that they are not getting what was anticipated but I wonder if things had gone well what would have been people like you tune. You guys just sit back for a moment to bash Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP. I will encourage you to measure the accomplishments of the ULP against the few bad errors of judgement and then come back and give your honest opinion. Bunch of hypocrites you all are.

  5. just like the Ottley hall this is another selfish idea by bang gut. He means if he is not in power then the project scrapped. He doesn’t know what he is talking about.

  6. The halfheartedness in taking investment risks is a major scourge on the economic development of SVG. We must learn to take and manage economic risks. Half measures are not acceptable. Here the government seems to say that it is ok to place foreign money at risk while the nation invest a pittance in the venture. If we are to move forward, we must take the risks of investing in solar, wind, waves, and geothermal energy. And this should not only be on the back of the treasury. Where are the private investors? They must play a part too.

    Criticizing setbacks of the geothermal venture is asinine and shortsighted. Such sentiments are detrimental to economic development regardless of which party is in government.

    1. Vinci Vin (with due respect) but he said that they were to own 51% of the venture at another instance. His head is what is has permeability issues to common interest sense. I am sure that the company doing the project is highly professional; has markedly different ethics than R.G. And, is legally solid. In SVG the judiciary is the PM and the Senate too and the Police. I don’t see that as workable in a business model. (and Gonsalves need to grow a spine too)

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