GEBE Managers attended a one-day geothermal workshop in Nevis organized by West Indies Power Company in collaboration with the University of New Zealand’s Institute of Earth Sciences & Engineering which took place on Thursday July 2. GEBE is following the developments on geothermal energy in the region very closely because it believes that geothermal can be a viable, cost effective and abundant source of alternative energy for the Dutch Windward Islands.
This one day workshop coincided with the final session of the 1st Eastern Caribbean Geothermal Conference which was held at the Mount Nevis Hotel on the island of Nevis. The well attended conference was organized by the Nevis Island Administration, The Organization of American States (O.A.S) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development.
Saba, where some preliminary geothermal surveys are currently being conducted, sent a delegation consisting of Commissioner Bruce Zagers and local power generation expert Dexter Johnson. The latter is also the manager of GEBE Saba. They were later joined by the manager of GEBE Statia Mr. Fred Cuvalay and GEBE Commercial Manager Steve Duzanson for the one-day work shop. The Nevis Geothermal Workshop attracted some 40 high ranking energy officials from around the Caribbean including CEO’s of utility companies and CARICOM/CARILEC/UWI officials.
The workshop was based on the P.G. Certificate Course which is given at the University of New Zealand’s Institute of Earth Sciences & Engineering (IESE) and covered topics such as Conceptual Models for Geothermal Fields, Ground Water Exploration, Geophysical Exploration and Geothermal Engineering. It was moderated by Dr. Graham Ryan (a young geophysicist originally from Montserrat) and Prof. Dr. Peter Malin (Director of the IESE in New Zealand).
One of the subjects that generated a lot of interest during the workshop was Prof. Dr. Malin’s assessment on manmade earthquakes and a recent investigation he conducted on this subject in Basel, Switzerland. The Basel case grabbed worldwide media headlines when a geothermal exploration project in the middle of the city was halted by the Swiss government after it was alleged to have caused an earthquake there. Dr. Malin showed that the two events were totally unrelated and argued that there has never been an earthquake of any significance caused by geothermal exploration.