Dominica seeking World Bank funds for geothermal energy project

ROSEAU, Dominica – The Dominica government says it is seeking funding from the World Bank and other international lending agencies as the island moves to further develop its geothermal sector.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the government has established the Dominica Geothermal Development Company (DGDC) to move ahead with the construction of the plant, a project which is expected to reduce Dominica’s dependence on crude oil.

“In June of this year, the government of New Zealand recruited a project manager who is now engaged with DGDC,” Skerrit told legislators recently, adding “funding for the project will come from various sources”.

Skerrit, who is also Finance Minister, said the government will contribute EC$40.5 million.

“In addition to government’s contribution we have secured all the funds required to construct the plant from our development partners,” he said, noting that the funding will include EC$30 million from the Britain, EC$5.4 million from New Zealand and also EC$5.4 million from SIDS DOCK.

Dominica has also applied for grant funding from the United Arab Emirates Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund and is expecting between EC$8.1million and EC$13.5 million to fund a battery storage system to be used on the national electricity grid.

Skerrit said funding for this project will also be obtained from the World Bank in the form of a loan of EC$16.2 million at a highly concessionary rate of 0.75 per cent with a 10-year grace period and 44-year repayment plan.

Prime Minister Skerrit noted that the environmental and social impact assessment for the geothermal project is ongoing in the Roseau valley.

“Every effort will be made to ensure that adverse impacts on the communities and the environment will be mitigated,” he said, adding that land owners in the area can also expect to be compensated for use of their property and support will be provided to residents who occupy lands to ensure that they are not left worst off, the Prime Minister said.

The designs for the plant are progressing and should be completed by the third quarter of 2017.

“Once the plant has been commissioned, the DGDC will sell power to DOMLEC (Dominica Electricity Company) to be distributed throughout the country.

“So far, I have been advised, that based on the regulations of the Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC) DOMLEC must pass on the lower tariff to the consumer. That is to say DOMLEC is not allowed to add to the cost at which the power will be sold. This will ensure that the lower cost of electricity from Geothermal will pass through to the consumers of our country,’ Skerrit said, adding that negotiations are ongoing with DOMLEC to finalize the terms of the power purchase agreement.

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