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Dominica government outlines energy strategy

Apr 26, 2006 - carribeannetnews.com

ROSEAU, Dominica: The Permanent Secretary in Dominica's Ministry of Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports, Dr Colmore Christian, has outlined the government's strategy to harness the country's renewable energy resources, mainly geothermal and wind, in response to the escalating price of oil on the world market and the need to pursue reliable and affordable sources of energy.

Dr Christian was at the time addressing an Alternative Energy Symposium, organized by the Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) in partnership with the Global Environment Facility Small Grant Project (GEF-SGP) and the Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for the Caribbean Action (FAVACA), USA.

Speaking at the symposium last week, Dr Christian noted: ? The increase in world prices for oil have had and continues to have devastating effects on small developing economies and economies in transition.

?These international developments have forced countries and development strategists to explore options for sustainable renewable sources of energy. Surely, the current high price of oil on the international market and the call for a reduction in the use of ozone depleting substances globally have made some non-oil based sources of energy much more economically attractive and environmentally desirable...?

The Government of Dominica, through the Ministry of Housing, Lands, Telecommunications, Energy and Ports has embarked on a multi-pronged approach, the primary elements of which include:

* Development of Hydro: Presently Hydro makes up 40% of Dominica?s energy production. Although there are no plans to expand that percentage in the short term, the goal is to at least maintain and consolidate that level of hydro energy production into the future.
* Dominica?s geographic location presents opportunities for harnessing the abundant supply of available solar energy. The State has invested in a totally solar-powered facility at the Morne Diablotin National Park at Syndicate.
* Wind Energy Research has confirmed the potential for wind energy generation in some parts (Woodford Hill and Delices) of the island.
* Geothermal Initiative- Phase I of the GEF-funded and OAS coordinated sub-regional initiative, involving Dominica, St. Lucia and St.Kitts/Nevis.

A funding proposal for Phase II of this initiative is presently before the GEF for consideration. Further investigations to be undertaken and the possibility of developing a pilot project in Dominica has been proposed under this second phase.

* Collaboration with the French (funded under Intereg)
* Government is actively pursing the development and commissioning of a 5-megawatt geothermal plant by December 2008.

Also addressing the symposium was FAVACA?s Chief Engineer, Dr Bill Young., also from the Florida Solar Energy Centre. Dr Young delivered a presentation on photovoltaic/ wind energy.

On the invitation of the Environmental Coordinating Unit, Dr Young visited Dominica from April 17-21, 2006 to undertake an assessment of the island's potential in regard to the generation of solar/wind energy. While in Dominica, Dr Young also made site visits to a number of communities including Penville.

The pursuit of cleaner and environmentally friendly sources of energy is in keeping with Government?s aim of lessening the island?s dependence on fossil fuel while at the same time maintaining Dominica?s reputation as the Nature Island of the World.