CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (NIA) — Nevis took another step toward the realisation of geothermal energy when drilling operations commenced for a test well at the site in Hamilton Estate.
Dan Pfeffer, president of the Nevis Renewable Energy International (NREI), the US-based company contracted by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) to harness the island’s geothermal energy, and Mark Brantley, acting premier of Nevis, cut the ribbon to signal the start of the drilling process on November 22, 2017.
Pfeffer described the project as one which would make a difference in the lives of the people, of Nevis.
“It’s very unusual to come across a situation or an opportunity where you get to convert from a fossil fuel plant, that as we all know is full of pollutants, to an absolutely green environment.
“Perhaps the best thing about this project is the island of Nevis will never ever again have to experience high electricity rates due to increasing prices of petroleum. So we are excited to be here,” he said.
The NREI president also spoke of the local workers employed with the first phase of the project. He said the company believed that all the available jobs for the project should first go to the residents of Nevis and they were excited to have six on board.
Meantime, Bruce Cutright, chief executive officer of NREI, who was also present, said the project would transform the energy picture for St Kitts and Nevis and in the end will be a gateway project for the Caribbean.
He used the opportunity to thank all who contributed to making the project possible and all those who will be working on installing the test well that, he said, would prove out the geothermal reservoir for the citizens of Nevis.
Brantley said the significance of the start of drilling operations at the Hamilton site cannot be overstated because it is an exercise that has occupied the minds of governments on Nevis since 2004.
He said once success comes with having clean, green and cheaper energy from the island’s renewable resource would propel the island to a category of its own.
“If we can achieve what we intend to achieve here, it means that Nevis becomes fossil fuel free for its generation of electricity. It puts us really, in a category of our own in the Caribbean and perhaps in the world, in terms of being completely sustainable for our electricity supply…
“This is a resource given to us by God. It is a resource made available to us and it is for us now to harness that for the benefit of the people of Nevis,” he said.
The acting premier acknowledged that Nevis was not alone in its quest for geothermal energy. He pointed islands pursuing geothermal energy, including Dominica, Saint Lucia, Montserrat and Guadeloupe, which already has an existing plant.
He said the technology has been proven and it was now left for Nevis to move forward. He said while many are at the starting gate of geothermal development, Nevis was already quite a distance ahead.
Brantley urged the people of Nevis to rally behind the project and to wish the drillers and developers the very best.
“If they succeed, we succeed and if they succeed, we get cleaner, greener cheaper energy and that ultimately, is what is important to us,” he said.
Brantley used the opportunity to speak of the six local residents employed by NREI to work on the first phase of the project and what the opportunity meant to them.
“We are going to have some transfer of skills. It means that six youngsters who are here will now know about geothermal, know about drilling and as we feel the rest of the Caribbean will take pattern from Nevis, it means that they will have a skill that is exportable and that in time, they themselves might be elsewhere working on drill rigs and working to make geothermal projects a reality elsewhere,” he said.