Above: Nevis Peak
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Nevis Renewable Energy International Company, a consortium of international companies, has been announced as the winning bidder to develop geothermal energy on the island, the Nevis Island Administration announced.
The company, which is led by Thomas Drolet, was one of three companies which had submitted bids for the project, which would be located on Nevis Peak. A native of Canada, Drolet is the head of Drolet & Associates, which specializes in energy development including geothermal
“We were looking for the company that had the technical ability and the financial ability to deliver this project to the people of Nevis and I think that we would have done a good job of selecting this particular company,” said Alexis Jeffers, senior minister responsible for renewable energy and the environment.
“It is a company that is made up of various consortiums and I must lay the ground work on that and let you know that there isn’t any one company that is out there that is developing geothermal,” Jeffers said. “It is normally a consortium of companies which brings their expertise and their abilities together whether financially, technically or otherwise.”
Nevis’ long-stalled geothermal project was originally being developed by a firm called West Indies Power, which eventually departed the project.
“We do believe that [Nevis Renewable Energy International Company] has the necessary capacity to deliver geothermal to us as they claim within 36 months of starting to drill, to production and eventually to us realizing the benefit of cheaper and more reliable energy here on the island of Nevis,” Jeffers said.
While the firm won the bidding process, no contractual agreements have yet been discussed. The company’s developers are expected to be on the island in the first week of December to begin talks.
Movement on the ground on the project is expected to begin in the first part of 2014, Jeffers said.
“The company is eager to start,” Jeffers said. “We are eager to get this thing going as well because every minute will count and every hour will count moving forward. So once we have that phase taken care of, that process taken care of, of PPA and contracts and so forth, it is time to move forward with the project. I believe very early in the New Year we should see some work being done.”
On Monday, West Indies Power said it was challenging the award of the bid, claiming it still had the licence to for the project.
In a release issued Monday, West Indies Power CEO Kerry McDonald said the Nevis Island Administration had “illegally awarded” the rights to develop Nevis’ geothermal resources to a consortium called “Nevis Renewable Energy International.”
He said the NIA had “no rights to award a development contract for the geothermal resources o Nevis to any other company since these rights are currently held by WIPN.”
“The NIA has claimed that WIPN has defaulted on the terms of its licence and WIPN has responded that these accusations by the NIA are not true,” McDonald said. “No decision has been made in this case.”
The Nevis geothermal project has been stalled for several years. West Indies was first issued a licence for the project in 2007. The Nevis Island Administration initially won a ruling in its dispute with West Indies Power at the beginning of this year. West Indies Power then appealed the ruling.