New Zealand geothermal
Image credit: OECS

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.

New Zealand and the OECS Commission will partner to deliver a study on possible opportunities for the direct use of geothermal energy outside of electricity generation across OECS countries.

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The study will provide a resource for OECS policy-makers on opportunities for development, to conceptualise pilot projects and identifying the resources required to advance them.

“…Since 2014, New Zealand has been working with Caribbean Governments to advance renewable energy projects. Geothermal 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,” New Zealand High Commissioner His Excellency Anton Ojala said.

According to Ojala, geothermal energy can lower energy costs in OECS countries and reduce the reliance on imported fossil fuels. The energy source can also “provide innovative, environmentally friendly solutions and products while also cutting greenhouse gas emissions”.

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Dr Didacus Jules, director-general of the OECS, welcomed this most recent partnership with the Government of New Zealand.

“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,” Dr Jules said.

The OECS Commission recently collaborated with New Zealand on a number of successful community-based interventions addressing climate and disaster resilience.

In addition to the Eastern Caribbean, the New Zealand High Commission Bridgetown serves Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.