Education essential for natural resource protection, Iceland Geothermal Expert tells Nevisians

A geothermal expert is of the view that the government of Nevis and the island?s only electricity provider the Nevis Electricity Company (NEVLEC) should have adequate education about geothermal energy to protect its promising natural resource.

In a recent interview with the Department of Information, Mechanical Engineer, Geophysicist and Geothermal Specialist from the National Energy Authority in Iceland Mr. Jonas Ketilsson said continued cooperation was likely between Nevis and his Country in the area of education.

?It is extremely important that you realise that this is a resource that is in Nevis and you have to watch out that the developer will treat your resource with respect.

?As I see it what Iceland could offer Nevis is proper education by engineers and scientist that work with NEVLEC now so that you can evaluate yourself [on] how the developer is moving forward?After a few years you will be capable to understanding your resource and know exactly how you should move forward,? he said.

Mr. Ketilsson visit to Nevis to provide technical assistance, followed an August 2008 visit to Iceland by representatives of the NIA through the Icelandic International development Agency (ICEIDA). During the visit the Nevis government successfully negotiated grant funding to acquire technical assistance from ICEIDA for the Nevis Geothermal Project.

He said there were training opportunities in Iceland available for NEVLEC engineers that would teach them to understand the resource; how to deal with it and the problems that may arise.

?It is actually a good starting point for those that go on through the six months training in Iceland starting next Spring in 2010?[students] could go through introductory lectures for geothermal [and] specialise in specific fields then embark on an essay that deals with your country and not on your resource. You write a paper on that, then [you] come back and have to work for NEVLEC, in this case, for a couple years. By doing this you create counterparts,? he said.

Meantime, Junior Minister with responsibility for Natural Resources on Nevis Hon. Carlisle Powell registered his delight with the ICEDA offer to assist the island?s people to understand and appreciate the geothermal resource.

He described the NIA’s ability to attract the National energy Authority from Iceland as a partner as a huge achievement.

?We know we are now going to get the very best assistance that we could get?I have absolute faith in the relationship, thinking that it would move forward and that we will be able to benefit. Let?s face it; there is more for Nevis to benefit from this relationship than Iceland so I am extremely happy? They are making such a huge effort to reach out to us to help us to understand the nature of the geothermal resource,? he said.

The Minister explained that Iceland had been involved with geothermal energy since the 18th century whereas Nevis was beginning in the 21st century therefore there was no point to reinvent the wheel.

?While Jonas and his people in Iceland can provide us with the expertise and can give us the assistance we are very, very happy to use it,? he said and thanked the Government and people of Iceland for the quality assistance they had so far provided to Nevis?We will continue to rely on the people of Iceland to guide us as we move on this very, very important path for Nevis,? he said.

Mr. Powell stated that geothermal energy was significantly important to the future development of Nevis and would mean considerable savings for the island.

He further said the island had spent over $30 million to purchase fuel for its power plant in 2008 and for a small island it was money that could be saved with geothermal energy and utilised in other areas of need.

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