The volcanic island of Nevis has long been known for its hot springs and their therapeutic qualities, but Nevisians have now found another benefit - geothermal energy. The completion of a geothermal power plant in 2009 will allow Nevis not only to be 100% self-sufficient with renewable power from underground energy sources, but also to export power to neighbouring islands.“Given the rising trend for eco-conscious travel, we are very proud to let the world know about our efforts with this geothermal project,” stated Garcia Thompson-Hendrickson, CEO of the Nevis Tourism Authority. “We know how important ‘going green’ is in the eyes of the world community and we are sure that visitors to Nevis will appreciate what we have initiated.”
West Indies Power Nevis Ltd. began drilling at the first of five viable sites on Nevis in January 2008 and just six months later on 2 June, the Spring Hill Reservoir (Nevis I) blasted steam from a depth of 3,720 feet beneath the surface of the earth, marking a geothermal milestone. According to Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Mc Donald, “Based on this sustainable reservoir with temperatures of approximately 480 degrees Fahrenheit, we have installed a temporary portable plant at Spring Hill that will generate between three and six megawatts of power. That plant will be in operation until the larger permanent facility is ready in 2009. The larger plant [from] which we are hoping to export power, will generate approximately 50 megawatts. 10 to 12 megawatts will be devoted to Nevis and the rest would be for export via submarine electrical transmission cables.”
The potential of geothermal energy for small, developing nations such as Nevis is encouraging, especially as geothermal power is less expensive than other renewable and fossil fuel sources. Nevis plans to sell its excess electricity to nearby neighbours such as St. Kitts, Anguilla, St. Maarten, and the US Virgin Islands. This initiative will establish Nevis as one of the least dependent nations in the world on fossil-fuels. It will allow for a rise in the standard of living, an increase in job opportunities and a cleaner environment for residents and visitors to enjoy.