Charlin Bodley, energy officer in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ports and Energy informed the crowd of locals at the Castries Constituency Council on Friday March 16, “The electricity sector remains of great concern, as we are almost 100% dependent on fossil fuel. We are also burdened by the relatively high cost of electricity. This erodes our competitiveness as a small island developing state and as a country, which depends so heavily on tourism.” These are some of the reasons why Saint Lucia is considering a geothermal energy resource. Bodley is one of several ministry officials involved in the Saint Lucia Geothermal Resource Project which is now at the public consultancy phase of geothermal exploration.
Geothermal energy is heat energy that is generated from the Earth, a significant portion of which is generated near the tectonic plate boundaries where seismic activity takes place. Drilling into the Earth’s surface deep enough to reach a reservoir of heat energy accesses geothermal energy and fluids.
“Geothermal energy,” according to Bodley, “like diesel, has the capacity to provide energy 24/7.” The energy security and independence geothermal energy will provide is one of the reasons why this present government is focusing on it as an alternative to fossil fuels.
“We are home to several indigenous renewable sources of energy,” said Bodley. But solar and wind energy both rely on climatic conditions which are unpredictable. Geothermal energy is a more dependable resource because it is constant and “has the ability to provide long term base load power (30 megawatts)”.
Geothermal energy is also being pursued because Saint Lucia is one of the 195 signatories to the Paris Agreement which focuses on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Although Saint Lucia’s emissions are “miniscule”, according to Bodley, “Saint Lucia joins with the rest of the world.”