Author: Jeevan A. Robinson - MNI Media | Date: 23 January 2018
The second visit in the Early Market Engagement (EME) process for Geothermal Energy Delivery on Montserrat took place today, Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018, with Thermal Energy Partners (TEP) out of the United States. Their CEO, Mr Bruce Cutright and Mr Ralph Birkhoff – Director of Business Development at Alquimi Renewables, represented Thermal Energy Partners.
Thermal Energy Partners is a Texas-based geothermal energy company that provides sustainable, base load, zero carbon, and renewable energy. The company was founded in 2010 and focuses on geothermal project design, finance, construction, energy production and operation of facilities upon completion
Today’s EME visit began with a site inspections that included both production wells of Mon 1 and Mon 2, and presently in development Mon 3. A visit was also conducted at the site of the Montserrat Springs Hotel so as to allow the representatives from Thermal Energy Partners to assess the logistical arrangements for any potential use of the jetty at Port Plymouth.
Representing the Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour for today’s EME process was The Honourable Minister with responsibility for Energy Paul J. Lewis, Renewable Energy Development Project Manager, Mr Owen Lewis; Project Engineer Mr Felix Persaud; Assistant Secretary for Energy Miss Marissa Allen and Mr Kenaud Ryan who also shares renewable energy expertise. During the visits to Mon 1, Mon 2 and Mon 3, explanations were given as to what was being viewed by attending Engineer Mr Persaud.
The Early Market Engagement that has been embarked upon by Honourable Paul Lewis and his team at MCWEL came about due to a challenge put forward by an official of the Department for International Development (DFID) in October of 2017. The challenge was taken up and put to the test by Minister Lewis, as Minister with responsibility for Energy. By November of 2017, the first EME took place on island, with an Italian geothermal development company – Exergy - visiting to make their presentations and conduct well inspections.
According to Mr Owen Lewis, Renewable Energy Development Project Manager; a total of 6 companies have expressed interest in participating in the EME thus far.
Geothermal Energy has the potential to transform Montserrat’s economy. As the CEO of Thermal Energy Partners, Bruce Cutright stated during today’s press conference with the media; “Montserrat is sitting on a goldmine of energy.”
Mr Cutright believes that the resource of Geothermal Energy on Montserrat has only scratched the surface in terms of proven yield so far from Mon 1 and Mon 2 wells.
During today’s Press conference, Hon Minister Lewis also reiterated that the EME was the start of the process for moving geothermal energy delivery forward for Montserrat. He also stated that he is committed to bringing geothermal energy on stream for the island, and feels that the potential of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) could be the way forward to make this geothermal energy delivery a reality for the island.
Regarding the status of Well 3 currently under development, DFID’s Infrastructure Representative here on Montserrat gave assurances that drilling works for continuing Well 3, also known as Mon 3 will recommence in no more than a few weeks time, in order to complete drilling and testing of the sustainable yield from this well. The drilling works at Well 3 has been stalled for several months due to some internal mud collapse inside the well during the early drilling stages. The recommencement of drilling in a few weeks is seen as a positive step, and significantly boosts the Early Market Engagement process.
The Power to change – The Montserrat Energy Policy 2016 – 2030 has formalized the Montserrat renewable energy target of 100% renewable energy generation by 2020. Renewable energy, to include both Geothermal and Solar PV energy development is a core part of Montserrat’s Energy Policy, alongside the construction of a new power plant.
It is anticipated that geothermal energy, which has much lower generation costs when constructed, will provide the base load for the island alongside Solar PV, with the diesel providing peak load and back up in the event of geothermal being offline for maintenance or otherwise.
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