The geothermal operation being developed by West Indies Power on Nevis and other Caribbean islands  has not caused nor will  it cause earthquakes as have recently occurred in Germany and Switzerland.

Recently however, there has been incorrect comparing of the “reservoir system” existing on Nevis and being developed by West Indies Power and the “hot dry rock” or “enhanced geothermal system (EGS)”   geothermal projects in California, Germany and in Basel, Switzerland, which were suspected of causing seismic events. These are two different types of geothermal reservoir systems that are developed in totally different ways and respond to development differently.

The geothermal operations that were suspected of causing the earthquakes in California, Germany and in Basel, Switzerland were Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) operations. An EGS operation attempts to create an artificial geothermal reservoir by fracturing the solid rock to create paths (fractures) to allow for geothermal solution flows through the rocks. The procedure to create these fractures is done by pumping pressurized water into the hot dry rocks that cause the rocks to shatter. This procedure has the possibility of releasing large amounts of energy that could cause earthquakes. There is currently no large scale commercial production from any EGS operation.

The geothermal reservoir systems that West Indies Power is developing in Nevis and other parts of the Caribbean are naturally occurring hydrothermal systems. There are currently over 10,000 MW’s of commercial geothermal production from this type of geothermal reservoirs in 24 countries. There has been continuous geothermal production from this type of reservoir since 1902.  In hydrothermal reservoir systems all of the paths (fractures) within the rocks are already in existence and flowing with geothermal solutions naturally and no fracturing of the rocks is required. Since it is not necessary to fracture the rocks there is no release of energy to cause an earthquake like can possibly happen in an EGS project.

An excellent discussion by Joe LaFluer, Chief Geologist of West Indies Power, on the difference between EGS operations and hydrothermal operations can be found at the West Indies Power website at Media/Videos.

Another recent misconception has been in relation to “mysterious” earthquakes or seismic events being caused by geothermal exploration on Nevis. No such correlation has ever been made by any of the entities that monitor seismic activity in the Caribbean. The University of the West Indies  Seismic Unit, the United States Geological Survey, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and the French Volcano Observatory on Guadeloupe all have seismic monitors located throughout the Caribbean. These monitors detect the size and location of seismic events in the Caribbean on a daily basis. There has been no reported seismic event with an epicenter between St Kitts and Nevis.

West Indies Power (Nevis) Ltd. is an independent power producer specializing in the development of geothermal energy in the Caribbean. It began its geothermal development drilling program on Nevis in January 2008.  After drilling three test wells, which  confirmed the resource, it is in the final  engineering of the plants that will use geothermal steam to produce electricity for Nevis and neighboring Caribbean Islands.

Contact: Lali Diaz-McDonald 
Phone: 1-869-665-3149