This Caribbean Island Wants to Turn “Ash into Cash”


Above: the Soufriere Hills volcano

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Montserrat has long been defined by the eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano, whose 1995 eruption forever changed its future.

But today, the island wants to use the teeming energy of the volcano to chart a new course for development: by harvesting geothermal energy.

It’s part of what has been a several-year-long exploration of geothermal energy.

The plan, according to Premier Donaldson Romeo, is “turning ash into cash.”

“The volcano is seen to many as a negative, but we see it as an opportunity to turn ash and other distinct feature of the volcano into cash and as an opportunity for greater regional cooperation,” he said at the recent conference of the European Commission and EU Overseas Countries and Territories in Tortola.

“Geothermal and other forms of sustainable energy can greatly reduce the need to import fossil fuel to generate the energy required to sustain the lifestyle we now enjoy,” he said. “This energy can be used for domestic cooking, for transportation, or for any other purpose that we currently use fuel in other forms in our daily lives. Wherever electricity can be easily substituted, we must see it as an opportunity.”

Renewable energy development, he said, “should be seen by all as a key resource in the future development of our territories, but it needs to be fully exploited in order to have a really vibrant and sustainable future.”

For more on Montserrat’s geothermal plans, read this article in CJ from 2014.

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