St Vincent and the Grenadines government has disclosed plans to take a second shot at exploring geothermal energy.
In 2019 the government halted the first geothermal project on the island after low permeability made it unfeasible to continue with development.
Finance Minister Camilo Gonsalves said Canadian Eavor Technologies would use a closed-loop development approach for this exploration phase.
Gonsalves said despite the setbacks, the plan is to utilise the tremendous geothermal resources of La Soufriere.
“Eavor, at its own cost, is conducting a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study, which will assess the geological data, evaluate the impact of the recent volcanic eruptions, develop preliminary powerplant designs, meet with stakeholders and establish capital cost estimates,” Gonsalves said.
It is expected that Eavor will know more around the middle of 2022 if the La Soufriere site is feasible for its technology.
EC$445,000 has been allocated in the 2022 budget for the project.
Eavor Technologies Inc is a global geothermal technology company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. The firm was founded in 2017 with the goal of producing a scalable form of baseload, dispatchable energy.
According to the Eavor website, the closed-loop is the crucial difference between Eavor-Loop and all traditional industrial-scale geothermal systems.
“Eavor-Loop is a buried-pipe system, which acts as a radiator or heat exchanger. It connects two vertical wells several kilometres deep with many horizontal multilateral wellbores several kilometres long.
As these wellbores are sealed, a benign, environmentally friendly, working fluid is added to the closed-loop as a circulating fluid.
Project Manager Ellsworth Dacon in 2020 said the government was in discussion with a company that has “a model like a radiator, like a motor car radiator” after the Iceland firm that owned the drilling rig had demobilised it for shipping to Spain for another project.
Ernesto is a senior journalist with the St. Vincent Times. Having worked in the media for 16 years, he focuses on local and international issues. He has written for the New York Times and reported for the BBC during the La Soufriere eruptions of 2021.