September 26, 2007
Junior Minister in the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Environment, Hon. Carlisle Powell recently disclosed that a team from West Indies Power Nevis Ltd, engaged in the investigation of an alternative energy source for Nevis formally advised the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) that it had completed the exploration phase of the Nevis development works and was now ready to progress to Phase II.
Mr. Powell told the Department of Information in a recent interview that Phase I of the programme entailed mapping and exploration work but Phase II would deal with drilling.
“The drilling part of it where they actually go down into the earth surface and try to find the geothermal energy…they are waiting on their drill rig as well so you [will] see two rigs operating at the same time in Nevis.
“One searching for water and one searching for the energies that you would use for geothermal power; and so that’s where we are at right now with respect to geothermal power,” he said.In February 2007, the NIA had issued a license to West Indies Power Nevis Limited to carry out an 18 month geothermal exploration project. The project is said to be well advanced and six months ahead of schedule.
Earlier this month Chief Executive Officer of West Indies Power Nevis Ltd. Mr. Kerry Mc Donald accompanied by General Manager Mr. Rawlinson Isaac and Duke University geothermal expert Mr. Reed Malin invited Minister of Powell and his Permanent Secretary, Mr. Ernie Stapleton, to the Bush Hill fault where exploration work for geothermal energy was ongoing.
“We are pleased to say that we have discovered geothermal resources in five places on the island and the drilling will begin in October on these. Based on that drilling we believe that come mid 2008, that the power plant, the initial temporary power plant for about 6 megawatts will be installed and will be in operation.
“The areas that we found geothermal resources are on what we call the Spring Hill fault, the Jessups fault, the Hamilton Estate fault, the Sulpher Gault fault and the Bush Hill fault” Mr. Mc Donald said.
He added that Nevis was on the cutting edge of geothermal exploration through the use of the most advanced techniques available today to bring renewable energy to its people.
The Chief Executive Officer explained that the use of joint electrical and seismic methods to locate the depth where the drill rigs would drill to put in the geothermal production wells. They would be 5 to 10 megawatts each and the very latest geophysical technique was being used.
“All the faults that I mention, are all going down into the earth at different angles, for example this particular fault that we are on right now is at an 80 degree angle”¦ this type of drilling has been around for about a 100 years and the company that will be doing the drilling is called Thermo Source and it’s the biggest drilling company in the world.
“When the first well is drilled, we will put in the temporary portable plant that will be somewhere between 3 and 6 megawatts. That plant will be in operation say the drill hole should be completed in November and that plant would be in operation by third quarter of 2008 and so say by June 2008, we would be supplying Nevis with its space-load power, most of which would work off of one well. The larger plant [from] which we are hoping to export the power, would be approximately 50 megawatts, we will have 10 to 12 megawatts devoted to Nevis and the rest would be for export would not be finished and built till 2009,” Mr. McDonald said.