The World Bank has approved $21.9 million (£15.8m) of financing to fund geothermal energy exploration in Saint Lucia.
The project will support exploratory drilling, capacity building, technical assistance and market engagement as well as prepare women for employment for technical jobs within the energy sector through access to educational programmes and employment opportunities.
According to the World Bank, high electricity prices in Saint Lucia are an impediment to economic competitiveness and growth and more than 55% of companies identify the high cost of electricity as a major constraint to doing business in the island nation.
The country currently remains almost completely dependent on expensive imported fuels for diesel-based generation.
The grant financing will help the Government of Saint Lucia assess the viability of its geothermal resources for power generation and strengthen the business environment for the private sector to pursue clean energy projects.
Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean said: “This project will help the country evaluate how geothermal energy can contribute to the country’s national energy mix. Clean energy from geothermal sources can improve electricity system reliability and reduce the cost of oil imports. Transitioning to renewable energy would also decrease the country’s vulnerability to the volatility of fuel markets.
“The future development of geothermal energy, informed by the activities financed by this project, will translate into lower electricity costs for households and businesses.”