DFID to fund next Geothermal phase for Montserrat

Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis

The Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to fund the next phase in the development of a geothermal power plant on Montserrat.

According to the Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis, the agency will source the funding to engage experts to move the geothermal plant development forward. “This expertise could take the form of a “Client Engineer” that will aid in the formulation of turnkey service for the project,” a release from Lewis’ ministry stated.

Minister Lewis shared that the client engineer is expected to have experience in public private partnerships as it is the proposed way the plant is to be developed. The engineer would be responsible to guide the development of the Montserrat Geothermal Plant Project.

He added that his ministry’s data gathering has revealed that it is possible to get a cheaper cost of power delivery to the consumer and they want to ensure that the public receives the best price on the market.

In August, the minister informed that his team met with their DFID counterparts on August 28 to finalise the Report of the Early Market Engagement (EME), announced at a press conference on January 23, this year. In attendance at the meeting were Permanent Secretary, Beverley Mendes, Energy Advisor Owen Lewis, and DFID representatives Moira Marshall, Allan Clarkin and Iftikhar Ahmad.

According to the press statement released on Wednesday, “there was a common consensus that the Early Market Engagement process was a success. There is a clear indication of interest in Montserrat’s geothermal prospects based on the number of well qualified geothermal players that participated in the exercise. It was further recognized that the current wells developed through investments provided by the UK Government has aided the advancement of Montserrat’s quest for geothermal energy.”

The EME proposed scope of works included, design, engineering, procurement, construction and partial financing services for Montserrat Geothermal 2.5 – 3.5 MW Plant Development.

Minister Lewis said the EME was an attempt to inform and engage the market and secure information.

“All parties were in agreement that the main concept behind the drive for the Geothermal project was to establish economic growth for Montserrat. It is therefore paramount that there is an attractive energy tariff rate to create investors interest in the island and for the local consumers to help improve their standards of living. Both the Government of Montserrat and DFID team have established action points that were agreed in the meeting. These action points will continue to drive the realization of geothermal energy,” said the release.

Meanwhile, a final agreement to complete drilling and short-term testing of Mon 3 has not yet been completed with the Iceland Drilling Company (IDC). No word on why the negotiations are still ongoing, as this has been the status since the start of the year.

A final decision on DFID funding contribution of the proposed geothermal plant has not been communicated to the government to date. Both parties have agreed to form a working group to determine how the geothermal project will proceed.

However, news of the positive sounds for the future movement on the six-year-old geothermal project have been met with criticism that the project has fallen this far behind. The argument says that there was a funding agreement in principle in 2014. That the project would have produced at minimum the base load with the new Genset as a backup. The information said that a third well was agreed at that time which would have allowed for expansion to at least 4.5MW production using two production wells and the third being for reinjection.

That information was highlighted, but in a different way during the ‘no confidence motion’ in Parliament this week, when Minister Paul Lewis said that the idea or the decision to acquire a 1.5 genset was a mistake, even though the idea and the need may have been a good one. He was challenged for not providing the facts, but countered that there was no knowledge at the time with the generators in use were constantly failing, when geothermal would have been in operation.

The unfortunate situation is that the new genset seemed up to now to be like ‘a lemon’ since as this report is written, it is with a sigh of relief, we say there hasn’t been any regular power outage over the past couple weeks.

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Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis

The Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to fund the next phase in the development of a geothermal power plant on Montserrat.

According to the Hon. Minister of Energy Paul Lewis, the agency will source the funding to engage experts to move the geothermal plant development forward. “This expertise could take the form of a “Client Engineer” that will aid in the formulation of turnkey service for the project,” a release from Lewis’ ministry stated.

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Minister Lewis shared that the client engineer is expected to have experience in public private partnerships as it is the proposed way the plant is to be developed. The engineer would be responsible to guide the development of the Montserrat Geothermal Plant Project.

He added that his ministry’s data gathering has revealed that it is possible to get a cheaper cost of power delivery to the consumer and they want to ensure that the public receives the best price on the market.

In August, the minister informed that his team met with their DFID counterparts on August 28 to finalise the Report of the Early Market Engagement (EME), announced at a press conference on January 23, this year. In attendance at the meeting were Permanent Secretary, Beverley Mendes, Energy Advisor Owen Lewis, and DFID representatives Moira Marshall, Allan Clarkin and Iftikhar Ahmad.

According to the press statement released on Wednesday, “there was a common consensus that the Early Market Engagement process was a success. There is a clear indication of interest in Montserrat’s geothermal prospects based on the number of well qualified geothermal players that participated in the exercise. It was further recognized that the current wells developed through investments provided by the UK Government has aided the advancement of Montserrat’s quest for geothermal energy.”

The EME proposed scope of works included, design, engineering, procurement, construction and partial financing services for Montserrat Geothermal 2.5 – 3.5 MW Plant Development.

Minister Lewis said the EME was an attempt to inform and engage the market and secure information.

“All parties were in agreement that the main concept behind the drive for the Geothermal project was to establish economic growth for Montserrat. It is therefore paramount that there is an attractive energy tariff rate to create investors interest in the island and for the local consumers to help improve their standards of living. Both the Government of Montserrat and DFID team have established action points that were agreed in the meeting. These action points will continue to drive the realization of geothermal energy,” said the release.

Meanwhile, a final agreement to complete drilling and short-term testing of Mon 3 has not yet been completed with the Iceland Drilling Company (IDC). No word on why the negotiations are still ongoing, as this has been the status since the start of the year.

A final decision on DFID funding contribution of the proposed geothermal plant has not been communicated to the government to date. Both parties have agreed to form a working group to determine how the geothermal project will proceed.

However, news of the positive sounds for the future movement on the six-year-old geothermal project have been met with criticism that the project has fallen this far behind. The argument says that there was a funding agreement in principle in 2014. That the project would have produced at minimum the base load with the new Genset as a backup. The information said that a third well was agreed at that time which would have allowed for expansion to at least 4.5MW production using two production wells and the third being for reinjection.

That information was highlighted, but in a different way during the ‘no confidence motion’ in Parliament this week, when Minister Paul Lewis said that the idea or the decision to acquire a 1.5 genset was a mistake, even though the idea and the need may have been a good one. He was challenged for not providing the facts, but countered that there was no knowledge at the time with the generators in use were constantly failing, when geothermal would have been in operation.

The unfortunate situation is that the new genset seemed up to now to be like ‘a lemon’ since as this report is written, it is with a sigh of relief, we say there hasn’t been any regular power outage over the past couple weeks.