Dominica gets US$27m for geothermal project

The World Bank on Tuesday approved a US$27 million project to support the construction of a 7 Mega Watts small geothermal power plant in Dominica; the aim of which is to increase the share of renewables, diversify the country’s energy matrix, and identify a clear road map for private sector investment in geothermal development.

The Geothermal Risk Mitigation Project is expected to significantly lower electricity costs in Dominica and increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix from 25 to 51 percent, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 38,223 tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) per year.

It will also assess the potential to export homegrown geothermal energy to its neighbors. 

The Dominica Geothermal Development Company Ltd will implement the project which is financed by grants and credit.

The International Development Association (IDA) will provide a US$17.2m and the Clean technology Fund (CTF) will provide US$9.95m in loans.

The rest of the project funds will come through grants from the UK’s Department for International Development – US$10 million; from DFID and US$2 million the Small Island Developing States DOCK Initiative – and technical assistance from the Government of New Zeland and the Agence Française de Développement.

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed said, “this is an extraordinary opportunity for Dominica to reach its energy and climate goals by investing in geothermal, and to build a greener and more resilient future. The country has huge potential to provide reliable, low-cost renewable and high-quality energy in support of climate resilient growth.”

Dominica’s small power system relies heavily on imported diesel, to produce electricity, thereby exposing customers to the volatility of international oil prices and contributing to high prices at the pumps.

The 2017 Category 5 Hurricane Maria, damaged 75 percent of the power network leaving the island enveloped in darkness for many weeks significantly, contribution to the communication and infrastructural challenges the island faced in the aftermath.

In response, the government adopted the National Resilient Development Strategy, which sets Dominica’s vision to become “the first climate-resilient country in the world” and diversifying the energy mix is a key element of this strategy.