Thursday, January 21, 2016

Caribbean: Bank Chief Touts Geothermal Energy for Region

Caribbean Development Bank Believes Geothermal is The Key to Cheaper Electricity in The Region (Virgin Islands Free Press)

CDB President Warren Smith
In a small meeting room, tucked away from the faux waterfalls of the Paris Regency Hyatt hotel’s immaculate lobby, Warren Smith, a soft-spoken Jamaican economist and the newly re-elected president of the Caribbean Development Bank, explained how it all might work.

“The trick,” Smith said, “is to take a regional approach.” Electricity in the Caribbean region costs three to four times as much as in the United States. Caribbean island economies are highly vulnerable to the “vagaries of the international petroleum market,” Smith said, and the boom and bust cycles that characterize those markets spell instability and risk for island states hampered by isolation and size constraints.

But the region contains untapped potential. In the eastern Caribbean, volcanic islands contain hidden wells of geothermal heat, which, if tapped and channeled through power plants, could provide the kind of stable base load power that wind and solar energy typically cannot.

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