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Work to begin on geothermal plant in Dominica this year

ROSEAU, Dominica--Dominica is nearing the end of negotiations with French investors to start building the islands much talked about geothermal plant.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made the disclosure as he indicated that production well and two reinjection wells have already been established and the next step was at hand.

“Within the next two months, we expect to conclude negotiations with a French investment consortium, who are partnering with us in a joint venture, to build and operate the domestic plant, and the plant to export electricity to Guadeloupe and Martinique,” he said.

Skerrit added that the legal framework was being developed in the meantime. “The Geothermal Development Bill, a critical piece of legislation to facilitate investment in geothermal energy, has been drafted and will be tabled in Parliament by the end of September. Funding has been identified for the construction of the domestic plant. Both the World Bank and the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) have offered financing under highly concessional terms and discussions in that regard are ongoing,” he said.

Skerrit said Dominica is looking to get the best deal to finance the project. “The World Bank came here to Dominica to offer us money to finance the small plant. There was a presentation to Cabinet but we have a situation where the AFD is also offering us money to finance this plant. So we have held back our application to the World Bank and we are negotiating for the best terms possible to borrow this money,” he said.

“I believe that in the next few weeks, we’ll be in a position to determine whether we’ll go with the World Bank or the AFD, based on the best lending terms. At the end of the day, that will play an important role in the cost of the plants and the resultant cost of energy to the consumers in Dominica.”

The prime minister contended that were it not for the ongoing negotiations with the two entities, Government would have been more advanced in the development of the domestic plant.

Construction on the plant should begin in 2016 and commissioned, on completion, in 2018.

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