By Sam Rhys-Williams
This island of Montserrat has now, as in the past, many natural resources. The sun, sea, beaches, forests, mountains, equitable climate and best of all the people. All of these are available to everyone and have not, as yet been given away.
We, the peoples of Montserrat have a way to help ourselves just as towns and villages did in the past. We can Harness ONE natural resource which is available as a result of our most notorious villain THE VOLCANO, studies have shown we have the energy.
Most vocal critics say that any private concerns are only interested in their shareholders’ welfare. This MUST be true since the shareholders have put their money where their mouth is. These ‘on island’ critics do not seem to be able to understand the facts of life.
The company established on the island will, in exactly the same way expect to provide the best deal for its shareholders. However there is ONE HUGE difference, the shareholders will be the people of Montserrat and those in the diaspora who are prepared to help the island achieve its full potential, and because most of those want to return to the island, a stable and cheap electricity supply is more important than profit, although “PROFITS” will be generated in the form of reduced power prices and those who invest will receive dividends and increased share value as things progress. NO external group can offer such riches.
The island must keep its feet on the ground and get the basics right first, cheaper electricity, rather than the most expensive in the region.
Looking towards a bright new tomorrow the Minister of State, when he visited the island talked about a green revolution. On the bright side by 2024 we can and will have:
- Cheap electricity for all provided by Private Enterprise.
- Large revenues generated for the Government from the sale of power to nearby islands through a Public/Private partnership and feed-in tariffs.
- A golf course in the north sustained by water pumped from the south using surplus energy.
- Additional street lighting and a green economy which will attract ECO tourists.
- A transport system where vehicles will be electric, fuelled via charging stations using a credit card system and costing a dollar a charge.(Car range 150+miles )
- The opportunity for Montserratians to return home and establish and operate:
- One or more breweries using both power and our clean water.
- Bottling plants for our pure water.
- Plastics component manufacture for the car industry and many others.
- Glass making (converting beer bottles into more useful items.)
- Pottery production using our own clay.
- Injection moulding and soft drinks manufacture using the ‘blown bottles’ and our own fruit.
- Conversion of green waste/ trees into compost and a private enterprise group to manage all aspects of the New Windward waste site.
- Software creation for the world at large and electronic design & development using the internet. Call centres.
The list is as long as one’s imagination but our future will depend upon ECONOMIC electrical power not just for the population but for business and commerce. It will also make it more likely that the CARRS BAY- LITTLE BAY project will come into being as hotels and spas use large amounts of energy.
There is one problem, it has been said on ZJB that the government intends not to reduce the price of electricity but to use the cost savings for its own ends. The people MUST be vigilant and ensure that this does not happen. Government does NOT make money, it spends yours and mine.
The fact is that as new enterprises return bringing population increases so will tax revenues increas
This can and will be the Montserrat of the future based on: GEOTHERMAL ENERGY.
Sam Rhys-Williams Technical Director, Montserrat Geothermal Power Limited.