In 2012, Montserrat began developing the island’s first geothermal project. Funds were provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (roughly $13.5 million) and the Caribbean Development Bank, with in-kind contributions from the government itself.
Iceland Drilling was awarded the contract and in October 2012 the company began drilling two test wells in Cork Hill/Weekes.
These wells were drilled to depths of 2,300 and 2,900 yards, striking temperatures of more than 260°C.
Testing is still ongoing; however, the initial results suggest the wells will be able to generate 2 MW of power – enough to meet the island’s current energy demands for its 5,000 inhabitants.
It is will be a poignant moment when the wells are fully operational as the island was devastated by eruptions of the Soufrière Volcano in the mid-1990s which destroyed the capital town of Plymouth, left more than half of the island’s residents homeless and covered more than 30% of the island with lava and ash.
Today, Montserrat has plans for a new capital town, a new port, and a new eco-tourism industry. It is only fitting that the same geological forces that destroyed much of the emerald island will help make it green again.