The Government of New Zealand and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission recently strengthened their collaboration on environmental sustainability to include the area of geothermal energy development.
Consequently, both parties will now work together to deliver a study on possible opportunities for the direct use of geothermal energy outside of electricity generation across OECS countries.
“New Zealand is pleased to be once again working with the OECS Commission. Since 2014, New Zealand has been working with Caribbean Governments to advance renewable energy projects,” High Commissioner to the Eastern Caribbean Anton Ojala stated.
“Geothermal [energy] is a particular area of expertise for us given our long history with this source of energy. We have used the energy harnessed for agricultural crop drying, industrial processing, and even for balneology uses such as bathing and swimming in our hot springs,” he added.
As part of this collaboration, OECS policymakers will benefit from resources highlighting opportunities for development and, as a result, conceptualise pilot projects and identify additonal resources to advance them. Ideally, the project should stimulate the successful use of geothermal energy for use in the industrial, agricultural, aquacultural, and tourism sectors.
“Geothermal energy has real potential to lower energy costs in OECS countries and reduce the reliance on imported fossil fuels, but also to directly provide innovative, environmentally-friendly solutions and products while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to strong practical outcomes from this joint activity,” Ojala emphasised.
This OECS Commission collaboration with New Zealand comes after a number of recent successful community-based interventions addressing climate and disaster resilience.
Director General of the OECS Dr Didacus Jules, therefore, welcomed this most recent partnership with the Government of New Zealand, which focuses on the direct use of geothermal energy, and expressed thanks for its continued support towards the sustainable development of the subregion.
“Geothermal energy continues to be a priority for the region in advancing sustainable energy for economic development and resilience. This intervention on the direct use of geothermal energy explores how the energy sector can boost other key areas of production for the region, such as tourism and agriculture. This work is closely aligned with the energy strategy of the OECS Commission, which seeks to foster innovative synergies and partnerships for sustainable energy,” the OECS director general stated.
In addition to the Eastern Caribbean, the New Zealand High Commission in Bridgetown serves Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.