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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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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.


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