St. Vincent and the Grenadines renegotiates larger share of geothermal plant

The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will now own a 49 per cent stake in the geothermal plant being developed in the country.

Originally, Emera and Reykjavik Geothermal, two foreign firms, were to own 75 per cent of the plant, with the remainder going to the government.

But Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said that the US$100 million dollar deal has been renegotiated.

“… we have to renegotiate aspects of the shareholders agreement between ourselves and them for the simple reason that originally, they were going for 75 per cent but we have negotiated with them that they would take 51 per cent and we, 49,” Gonsalves said.

He further announced that the project is “at the stage where we have to alter the power purchase agreement between the consortium of Emera and Reykjavik Geothermal.

“That is now ready to be signed between them and VINLEC,” he said, referring to the state-owned power company, which would buy the electricity from the consortium and resell it to consumers.

Gonsalves did not say how the change in share ownership would affect the amount of money the government would now be expected to contribute to the project, to which the consortium had originally committed US$80 million.

The geothermal project was initially scheduled to come on stream this year, but it is not clear whether the government still intends to meet that target.

In 2015, when the Geothermal Project law was debated and passed in Parliament, where some lawmakers expressed concern that Saint Lucia may find itself “at a point in time in this process when [the geothermal venture] becomes outside of our control”.

For many island nations, renewable energy brings the opportunity for greater energy sovereignty but carries political costs about how these resources are owned and operated.


Partial Source: iWitness News

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