Delays over, declares Nevis Geothermal Developer’s CEO McDonald
Assurances have come from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of West Indies Power (WIP) Nevis Ltd., geothermal developers on Nevis Mr Kerry McDonald that the delays which slowed the progress of the geothermal development project over the last months have ended and the project will move forward quickly early 2011.
The CEO made the disclosure in an interview with the Department of Information on Tuesday, during a field visit with members of an advance team who were on Nevis to lay the groundwork for construction of the 10megawatt geothermal plant at Spring Hill ahead of the planned start of Phase II of the project.
“January is the date that this project will begin. The contracts are in place the financing has been finalised and we will begin drilling in January. The rigs will arrive in January and the holes will begin drilling end of January first part of February. The plant will be started for installation in March and we plan to be producing power no later than the end of 2011. So in 2011 the people of Nevis will have their cheaper geothermal power,” he said.
Mr. McDonald explained that the project had been delayed because financing for the project had been adversely affected due to the world economic meltdown in 2008 which continued to affect parts of the world even today.
However, financiers the Export Import Bank of America along with the Bank of Novia Scotia had agreed to fund the US$31million required to complete the US$41million project in Nevis.
“We were luckily able to get our financial support to go forward with the project. The project itself will end up costing US$45million, we have currently spent since 2007 US$14million on the island for drilling the three wells and doing all the exploration work, plus doing a lot of the work that people on the island don’t see – the engineering, the design, the environmental studies that we have to do. Those have been ongoing for this last year but those are critical for us to develop the plant.
“The Export Import Bank has told us that they are willing to go forward with the remainder of the US$41million which is basically US$31million and that is what they will be spending over his year in 2011 on the island,” he said.
According to Mr. McDonald, the project will move rapidly ahead when it commences early next year, now that funding had been secured to supply the people of Nevis with geothermal energy in the quickest time possible.
He explained the reason behind the advanced team’s visit so that everything will be in place when the drill rigs arrive on Nevis at the start of January.
Meantime, Mr. McDonald used the opportunity to make clear the difference between the exploratory works that had been carried out on Nevis and the new holes to be drilled.
“West Indies Power in 2007/2008 drilled three wells one at Spring Hill one at upper Jessups and one at Hamilton. Those were exploration wells that allowed us to determine what the potential size of the resource here on Nevis is and what the chemistry of the resource is. We needed that information so that the plant people could design the plant to supply the power to Nevis. Those wells were all very successful but in the future they will be plugged and shut down because they will not be used anymore.
“The wells that Mr. Hansen will be drilling at Spring Hill, is where the drilling and the 10megawatt plant will be,” he said.
The West Indies Power CEO also noted that the plugged holes will mark the end to all the exploratory work and basically the US14million the company had spent so far on Nevis to bring the project finally to fruition.
“We plan to get all of these wells drilled over a six months period when we are building the plant so we are doing things in parallel to make sure that 2011 is the date for geothermal power to the people of Nevis,” he said.
With regard to employment opportunities in the area of construction for the people of Nevis, he said an estimated 40 new jobs would be initially created.
In conclusion, Mr. McDonald thanked the Nevis Island Administration for its support and understanding with delays experienced with the project. He said the Company remained resolute in its commitment to deliver geothermal energy to the people of Nevis in 2011.