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  (Source: Recharge News)
Could help the Caribbean island become independent from imported energy

Smaller volcanic islands in the Caribbean have always had potential for geothermal energy use, since volcanoes allow heat from within the Earth to rise to the surface and transfer to water. Just last year, several geothermal reservoirs were discovered throughout the two-island Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, which will allow it to produce approximately 50 megawatts of energy. Now, other islands not too far away are following suit.

St. Lucia, a small island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea, is set to create a series of geothermal plants based on an agreement with Qualibou Energy, a U.S.-based renewable energy company. Qualibou Energy signed a 30-year contract with the island's government in an attempt to extract enough geothermal energy to power the island on its own.

Currently, St. Lucia imports most of its energy from Mexico and Venezuela, making the island almost completely dependent on other countries for its energy resources. To make matters worse, most of the energy imported to St. Lucia is petroleum. 

"All our energy is produced from oil, which we import," said Roger Joseph, spokesman for St. Lucia's power utility, who is pro-geothermal energy. "So from an energy security standpoint, this gives us more options."

In addition to providing St. Lucia with independence when it comes to energy, the development of geothermal plants will also help the island obtain cleaner energy. In total, the combined series of geothermal plants expected to be built in St. Lucia would produce an installed capacity of 120 megawatts. This is more than enough energy to power the island. In fact, only one-third of the total energy produced will go toward powering St. Lucia, which has a population of 175,000, while the rest will be sent to power Martinique, a neighboring Caribbean island, via an underwater power cable.

The government of St. Lucia and Qualibou Energy would like to complete the series by 2015, with the first 12 megawatt phase to be completed and generating power in about two years. 

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Good stuff
By Paj on 8/18/2010 10:59:39 AM , Rating: 5
Geothermal is nice when you can get it

RE: Good stuff
By HoundRogerson on 8/18/2010 11:27:38 AM , Rating: 3
Any of the "green" energy sources are, they just won't run the entire planet very well... But for small areas like this, or as a supplemental supply, they are awesome.

RE: Good stuff
By FITCamaro on 8/18/2010 12:05:52 PM , Rating: 4
I actually always thought that geothermal could produce far more energy than this. I guess it depends on how much heat is coming up. But I'm sure if the money was spent to build a plant that tapped the earths heat much farther down, it could produce a lot more energy. It would just be expensive.

Personally I am fine with any power plant that can produce power consistently. Thats why wind and solar suck. They do not have the reliability of nuclear, geothermal, or even hydroelectric. Tidal power is fairly reliable as well it just is expensive and doesn't produce much energy.

RE: Good stuff
By StevoLincolnite on 8/18/2010 12:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
I actually always thought that geothermal could produce far more energy than this.

They can, once a Geothermal station is established, all you really need to do is drill another hole, and bang! Power station capacity expanded.

RE: Good stuff
By DanNeely on 8/18/2010 1:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
There's no point in building more capacity than can be used. Martinique has a population of ~400k; so it's quite possible that this plant will fully power that island too (or would max out the capacity of the underwater cable); at which point there'd be no benefit to more production capacity because there'd be no one to use it without spending a huge amount of money on additional underwater cables.

RE: Good stuff
By theArchMichael on 8/18/2010 2:41:01 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah but depending on the cost of the underwater cables it may be useful...
The Caribbean is an island chain so there are islands nearby that are somewhat heavily populated Antigua going down to Trinidad. There's also a political and trade agreement between all these nations called CARICOM that could help in coordinating and funding an effort like this.

I would like to see the Caribbean become energy independent and green because of their reliance on Tourism for revenue and also because of their reliance on DICTATORS for energy.

RE: Good stuff
By HotFoot on 8/18/2010 1:40:19 PM , Rating: 3
A lot of the time I think perhaps we'd do well to build a massive geotherm plant near Yellowstone. There is so much energy in the ground there - perhaps tapping into it to make use of it would be better than waiting for the next super-volcano eruption. Heck, it could even be a preventative measure, if over time the geotherm plant takes enough energy out of the system.

RE: Good stuff
By FITCamaro on 8/18/2010 4:01:09 PM , Rating: 3
Believing that we have the ability to extract enough heat from the Earth to influence pressures inside the Earth is as foolish as believing that we have the ability to ruin the worlds climate with carbon dioxide.

RE: Good stuff
By quiksilvr on 8/18/2010 4:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Is the environment affected by our actions? Yes. And there have been fluctuations in weather climates. But is it enough to destabilize it or ruin it? Hell to the no. The Earth took things way more detrimental than us and it's still running strong.

But going back to your solar/wind comment, I agree that nuclear in the large scale sense is the way to go. But the main problem is public perception. We have been very careless in the past when it comes to nuclear energy (poorly storing waste, meltdown issues, etc.) and it is going to take time to push nuclear.

Is solar and wind inferior? Yes. Does it suck? Not as much. It all depends on the application. Rural areas would greatly benefit from a combination of solar, wind and even geothermal energy. This can not only save rural communities money, it can save a massive amount of maintenance costs (imagine having to deal with power lines those many miles away in the middle of nowhere? Not to mention upgrading them) and alot of time.

There are many applications for all these sources of alternative energy. That's why they exist.

RE: Good stuff
By HotFoot on 8/18/2010 4:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm more on the side of saying it's unlikely to do any harm to the current situation, if we tap into the heat. And as for having an effect on even the local crust temperatures, I agree that whatever effect it would be is probably minuscule.

RE: Good stuff
By MikieTImT on 8/21/2010 4:51:39 AM , Rating: 2
The only problem with a geothermal plant in a national park would be to figure out how to transmit the power without having massive high-voltage lines on towers strung through the park. Not too many folks want to pay money to get back to nature just to have wires strung through all their breathtaking photos. It is a big park, though. I've spent a couple of weeks there on two different trips and barely got off the roads, so maybe a transmission line could be sited somewhere out of sight of the majority of patrons. Getting approval through the Sierra Club lawsuits to get any such project approved would be well nigh impossible, though.

RE: Good stuff
By AnnihilatorX on 8/19/2010 11:26:44 AM , Rating: 2
I am a big fan of high altitude wind power though. At high altitude, wind is almost constant and strong. You won't create any noise, visual polution on ground. You won't affect birds or other wildlife.

The only problem is interference with aviation space.

RE: Good stuff
By shin0bi272 on 8/19/2010 3:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
And actually getting the balloon up there on a long tether that will not cause the planes issues and is strong enough to hold the thing in place. The problem is that there's no material strong enough to do so. There was a show on the science channel where they tried to do this exact idea and they calculated that to hold this balloon up in the jetstream they would need something that can hold the weight of about 6 american cars (aka big ass sedans)... nothing they tried worked. Cause remember you need something light enough to not drag the balloon down but with the tensile strength to not rip in the strong wind 50,000ft up. If you can find something that weighs nothing and is indestructible then you can rule the world.

RE: Good stuff
By AnnihilatorX on 8/20/2010 7:08:46 AM , Rating: 2
There are some recent material science breakthroughs. Most well known is of course crbon fibre. If we can mass produce it cheaply we can even make space elevators.

Spider web is strongest material in tensile strength known to man, if bundled in a fibre. If we can reverse engineer it of course.

RE: Good stuff
By kattanna on 8/18/2010 11:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
Geothermal is nice when you can get it

like hydropower

good for them!

RE: Good stuff
By Amiga500 on 8/18/2010 12:34:05 PM , Rating: 2
Erm, no.

Hydro power being "clean" is a total fallacy.

The GWP of methane is up to 70 times that of CO2. All of the humus and sediment trapped behind the dam results in massive releases of methane.

If the tree huggers are gonna pedal the greenhouse gas line, then hydro power does not stack up.

RE: Good stuff
By NullSubroutine on 8/18/2010 12:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
Humus, the chip dip? Really?

RE: Good stuff
By ClownPuncher on 8/18/2010 4:13:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, hummus was invented 800+ years ago for your Doritos.

OR, he could mean

RE: Good stuff
By Ammohunt on 8/18/2010 1:50:04 PM , Rating: 2
Boy i tell you, humus makes my dam burst releasing a ton of methane!

RE: Good stuff
By raddude9 on 8/18/2010 3:13:57 PM , Rating: 3
It's far from being a
total fallacy
but it's not simple so I'll try to explain.

Yes, the greenhouse effect of methane is far larger than that of CO2, but methane has a half-life of about 7 years if released into the atmosphere. So once released into the atmosphere it degrades quite quickly when compared to other gasses.

Also, not sure what you mean by
humus and sediment
, but the methane that you are talking about is released by plant matter that decays underwater (i.e. without air). This rotting plant matter in question is the plant matter that is covered over in the initial flooding of the dam, so after 10 years or so, this will have petered out.

It should be obvious that you could get around most of methane issue by removing or burning plant matter that is going to be flooded

RE: Good stuff
By shin0bi272 on 8/19/2010 3:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are misguided. If that co2 wasnt released there it would be released somewhere else down the line or trapped under the ocean for a few thousand years where it becomes a chunk of methane ice and when the earth warms up it releases then. Eventually it's going to come out naturally so what's the difference if it comes out now or later?

Plus co2 from methane has been around for eons but just because algore says co2 is bad youre gonna whine about it?

Lastly didnt we just get a report about 2 weeks ago here on DT that said that its not co2 thats causing the warming but the amount of soot/ash in the air? Even if that were true (trying to pin global warming down to us evil humans and our retched societal evolution) then how did the previous what 5 ice ages end on their own when there weren't even humans around to burn all the coal and oil and trees to warm the planet up? We should stop calling it green energy and start trying to think of a new term for things like solar and wind and geothermal energy cause they all fail in their own way so there not really "green".

By dgingeri on 8/18/2010 1:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
The entire US could be powered by this, if the government would let us. There is a huge caldera known as Yellowstone National Park that contains enough heat energy to supply the entire country with geothermal power for the next 7 centuries. We wouldn't even need to build power plants in the park. We could use our current oil drilling technology, enhanced by some further research, to drill down beside the caldera and get massive amounts of geothermal power. Using our current technology of transformers and power distribution, we could use that power for the entire country.

Add on the caldera of Long Valley, and we could have more than enough power for the next thousand years.

The only thing preventing this is red tape from the government.

Now, I'm not a big fan of those pushing the idea of CO2 causing climate change. I'm not a big fan of the econuts in general. However, this idea is huge to me. Getting away from sending money to our biggest enemies in order to supply us with fuel for our cars would be a big time good idea to me. Is there someone here to can push some government official to at least take a look at the possibility?

By OUits on 8/18/2010 1:44:09 PM , Rating: 2
How do you propose we fuel cars with this, exactly?

By HotFoot on 8/18/2010 2:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
In the immediate future - nothing very practical. I'm not a huge fan of current tech for electric vehicles. However, plentiful, reliable, controllable and cheap electricity has enormous potential. Maybe down the road we'll be running algae grow-ops to make bio-diesel.

No matter what, energy security and economy will encourage industry.

By Solandri on 8/18/2010 7:25:38 PM , Rating: 2
With sufficient low-cost energy, you can drive most exothermic chemical reactions backwards. There's probably some way to dump a bunch of energy into H2O and CO2 from the air to produce alcohol chains, which we could use as liquid fuel for internal combustion engines.

Plants do essentially that - they take H2O from the ground, CO2 from the air, and energy from sunlight, and combine them to form sugars (CH2O chains) which are very similar to alcohols. The same sugars, when linked in long chains, become cellulose - aka wood. Ferment them and they become alcohol. Cook them under pressure long enough and they turn into petroleum.

By kattanna on 8/19/2010 10:35:35 AM , Rating: 3
The only thing preventing this is red tape from the government.

not really.

the only thing preventing us from having clean abundant power is.. environmentalist wackos.

they simply protest EVERYTHING. hopefully soon we will have the collective will to start simply ignoring them and their counter productive banter and do what we need to do.

By AnnihilatorX on 8/19/2010 11:30:36 AM , Rating: 2
It's because you lumpsum enviornmentalists.
It's as obvious as saying human eats all kinds of food.

Some enviornmentalists support nuclear, some don't. Some supports solar, some don't.

By Spuke on 8/19/2010 3:27:18 PM , Rating: 2
Some enviornmentalists support nuclear, some don't. Some supports solar, some don't.
The people in charge of all of your enviornmentalists groups all support the same issues. And protest accordingly.

By randomly on 8/27/2010 2:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
Neither of you are correct.

The real reason all these alternative energy sources are not being adopted rapidly is not because of Government red tap or fanatical environmentalists, it's because they are not cost competitive.

Any alternative energy source that provided cheaper power than current technologies would be adopted very rapidly, at least somewhere in the world.

Thank goodness for Sid Meier
By OUits on 8/18/2010 12:43:31 PM , Rating: 5
Without that Pirates! game I would have no idea about the geography involved in this article.

Free market coice
By mkrech on 8/18/2010 12:11:50 PM , Rating: 3
I fully support this example of green energy deployment. The citizens of a small island decide to become energy self-sufficient and green at the same time. They decide to do this understanding that they will have to pay for the up front costs of this development and that the return on their investment may not be economically better than their current situation, but they democratically agree to fund the initiative because it provides clean energy independence.

Absolutely nothing to argue with here... unless I find out that the project is somehow being funded by my tax dollars to push the green movement. If that is the case I swear I am going to blow a flippin' gasket.

Enhanced Geothermal
By Paj on 8/19/2010 7:54:40 AM , Rating: 3
A lot of work is being done on Enhanced Geothermal Systems at the moment too.

I think the idea behind this is to drill deep enough into the earth so that the geographical location of the power plant is not dependent on being sited near an existing geothermal feature (ie geysers or whatever).

Yet another Australia pilot of this technology is being developed in the Cooper Basin, South Australia (amongst others around the world). The pilot plant is expected to provide baseload power of 25MW, and expected lifetime of each plant is in the realm of 30 years. It cant last forever unfortunately - the water piped back from underground cools the rocks so much that it eventually becomes uneconomical (although eventually the rocks will re-heat).

Pretty cool.

By rcc on 8/18/2010 2:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
They'll cool the earth's core faster. We're all going to die!!!

Yes, that was sarcasm for anyone that didn't get it. Although.........

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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