Antigua-Barbuda senator observes exploratory drilling for geothermal energy in Montserrat

ST JOHN’S, Antigua — Senator Winston Williams Jr., Antigua and Barbuda’s acting minister of education, sports, youth and gender affairs, was recently in Montserrat, where he joined Premier Reuben Meade and other officials to witness the commencement of the exploratory drilling process for geothermal energy.

Williams underscored the importance of increasing reliance on sources of renewable energy, particularly in small island developing states, which are now struggling significantly with the high cost of fossil fuel-based energy systems and applauded the government of Montserrat for making the move.

The Iceland Drilling Company officially began drilling in Cork Hill to establish the first of two production wells with a depth of 5,000 feet each on Montserrat. The drilling and testing phases are expected to take three to four months. Montserratians are hopeful that the exploration will be successful based on a geothermal exploration report done by California-based EGS, that there is an 80 percent likelihood of geothermal energy on the island.

The project is being funded by the UK’s Department for International Development is valued at £8,620,001 under the sector group ‘Energy generation and supply’. To date, £6,711,902 has been expended on the initiative, which began in August 2011. It is expected to be completed in March 2016.

If successful in the exploratory drilling, the government of Montserrat is hopeful that the geothermal energy production will exceed national requirements and be available for export to neighbouring islands such as Antigua.