All the best for the New Year!

I love the idea of geothermal energy especially as it is in keeping with the environmentalist 'Nature Island' theme of Dominica. Wouldn't it be great to be the regional leaders in green energy by turning the whole island GREEN. Let's be initiators in something good for the first time instead of followers.

Geothermal energy is touted as one of the few renewable resources that could be used for base-load (round-the-clock) power generation. Earth's heat is always on and it's not dependent on wind or sun. There are risks however, such as earthquakes, though there are no safety disasters in the history of geothermal energy.

Here are some of the safety concerns and measures put in place to counter them:

1) Upset situations may occur such as release of steam with hydrogen sulphide which requires trained Operations personnel like Civil Defence, Police and Fire personnel, to be on hand. There should be a Local Emergency Planning Commission to deal with this. Community representatives should also be involved.

2) Department of Health should oversee safety and regular inspections of the facility must be conducted.

3) Air quality including noise, hydrogen sulphide and any other emissions must be strictly regulated.

4) Safe drinking water is another factor that requires an Underground Injection Control permit to regulate all injection fluids and protect the ground water source at location.

5) There should be a Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) that oversees the Geothermal site. A DNLR representative should always be on site when drilling is in progress.

6) There should be an 'Emergency Preparedness & Prevention Section' to ensure compliance.

7) There should be several other safety mandates with a Risk Management Plan and a Hazardous Waste Operator Response standard among others.

I hope this information will be useful as I really want Dominica to have a thriving economy for all the right reasons.