NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (February 01, 2011) — The public on Nevis will be given an opportunity to register their concerns with regard to the geothermal project on Nevis. Word of this came from West Indies Power’s Chief Executive Officer on Nevis Mr. Kerry McDonald when he spoke to the Department of Information at his company’s office on Tuesday.
“[I would like] to give notice to the people of Nevis about the hearings on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), for the development of the geothermal power plant at Spring Hill and the substation and power lines that would be put into Prospect from the geothermal power plant. That will be discussed at two public consultations this coming week.
“There will be a public consultation on Monday February 7th at 7o’clock at the Red Cross Building in Charlestown and there will be a public consultation on Tuesday February 8th at the Methodist Church School in Fountain. There will also be a call in radio programme at 7pm on Wednesday February 9th on Choice FM,” he said.
Mr. McDonald explained that the public forums were a requirement in both the Geothermal Contract with the Nevis Island Administration, the Geothermal Ordinance and also for the funding agency the Export Import Bank (EXIM) in the United States of America. The requirement would facilitate the further development of the geothermal power project on Nevis.
The consultation will take a formal format on the EIA that was filed in December with Premier of Nevis Hon. Joseph Parry and the EXIM Bank. Copies of the document have since been made available for public viewing at the Charlestown Public Library, the Department of Planning and it has also been posted on the bank’s website.
Mr. McDonald said there would be a full complement of persons on hand to answer questions from the public. He noted that he would be joined by Mr. Stewart Russell who compiled and wrote the EIA, a representative from the manufacturers of the power plant who will address the plant and its operations and a representative from the drilling company who will speak to the effects of the drilling.
At the conclusion of the consultations, Mr. Kerry said the transcriptions would be presented as part of records to the Export Import Bank, in furtherance of the loan qualification by West Indies Power for the project.
The EIA is filed by West Indies Power but also has to be approved by the NIA and the Bank after which physical operations at the Spring Hill site could continue.
“Once we start the plant will be installed by the end of this year and will be in operation by the first quarter of next year.
“Once the EIA is approved, as is or with modification it is then presented to the Board of Directors of the Export Import Bank for their final approval and that’s the final action to occur. The Export Import Bank’s next Board meeting is the end of March but once the approval is given, that then allows us to start actually doing some work,” he said.
Notwithstanding, in response to a question Mr. Mc Donald disclosed that the geothermal project had experienced two major events that had set it back by a year and a half.
“It took so long for basically two reasons. Reason number one was the economic meltdown that happened and actually we had gone all the way almost to this point before it happened. So that actually cost us a year and a half.
“Then the other fact was there has been a change in the ownership of West Indies Power. The negotiations of the buyout of one party by the other basically took longer than we thought but that was completed in January of this year,” he said.
According to Mr. Mc Donald, the new buyer was Renova Capital Partners, a renewable energy fund based in Denver Colorado. They bought out Antilles Power which was the shareholder that was originally a part of the company.
The CEO said the public should also be mindful of a 30 day requirement after the EIA was filed in keeping with the bank’s regulations.
“March is when you will start seeing action on the ground and the reason is we have to have the EIA hearings. Once the EIA is approved, remember it was filed in December and we had to give it 30 days by Export Import Bank regulations so that’s what basically pushed it back another 30 days. So now our 30 days has passed and we are going to the public hearings,” he said.
Any questions related to the upcoming public hearings should be directed to West Indies Power at 1869-469-7105.