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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Dominica actively invests in sustainable development projects to reach climate resiliency goals

Roseau: The Nature Island of Caribbean Dominica intends to become the first climate-resilient country in the world. Its target is to achieve this goal by 2030, as Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced following the devastation ravaged the island nation by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

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Roseau: As Dominica aims to become the world’s first climate-resilient country by 2030, the Government is intensively investing in sustainable development projects after being battered by several natural disasters. These projects include developing as well as improving its renewable energy capabilities along with sustainable housing, healthcare and educational facilities.

Dominica already gets 28 percent of its energy requirements from natural sources or constantly replenished processes, such as hydropower and wind. However, it currently has a small power system that depends heavily on diesel to produce electricity, but after the establishment of the geothermal plant, the cost of electricity will be reduced for customers.

The construction of a 7MW small geothermal power plant in the Roseau Valley area of Dominica is partially supported by the funds generated through Dominica’s CBI programme. Establishing this project aims to increase the share of renewables, diversify the country’s energy matrix, and identify a clear road map for private sector investment in geothermal development.

Geothermal power plants use steam to produce electricity and it works same as coal or nuclear power plants, the main difference being the heat source. With geothermal, the Earth’s heat replaces a coal plant’s boiler or a nuclear plant’s reactor. The hotter the resource, the less fluid needs to flow from the ground to take advantage of it, and the more useful it is. Brimming with hot springs, geysers, and volcanic activity, where the Earth is particularly hot just below the surface, the “Nature Isle of the Caribbean” is the perfect location to manifest geothermal energy.

“The Geothermal Power Plant shows Dominica’s commitment toward resilience. Projects like the geothermal plant are putting the Nature Isle ahead of the world in combatting climate change while relieving the nation of its reliance on imported fossil fuels,” said Micha Rose Emmett, CEO of the world’s leading government advisory and marketing firm, CS Global Partners.

The Geothermal Risk Mitigation Project will significantly lower electricity costs in Dominica and increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix from 25 to 51%, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 38,223 tons of CO2 per year.

The Dominica Geothermal Development Company Ltd (DGDC) is implementing the project and is financed by a US $17.2 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), US $9.95 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), as well as grants from the UK’s Department for International Development – US $10 million from DFID and US $2 million from the SIDS DOCK Initiative – and technical assistance from the Government of New Zealand and the Agence Française de Développement. Economic Diversification Fund proceeds from the country’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme are also providing part of the funding.

The DGDC has decided to build a binary cycle power plant, which whilst more costly than alternative geothermal plant models, is the most environmentally friendly and accordingly, the long-term benefits accrued by not causing pollution, far outweigh the additional cost.

Work on the geothermal plant is well underway, and in February 2021, the Government signed a US $12.5 million contract with an Iceland-based company to drill two wells. Dr Vince Henderson- the Parliamentary Representative for the Grand Bay Constituency and Minister for Planning, Economic Development, Climate Resilience, Sustainable Development, and Renewable Energy of Dominica recently visited the site to observe the progress of the project and confirmed that the completion of the geothermal project is to take around 18 months, with the plant expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

The geothermal plant will have a substantial and positive impact on the island’s national advancement and the lives of its citizens. In addition to the creation of local jobs related to the construction and maintenance of the plant, the Government is hoping to use the energy generated to power 23,000 homes with clean geothermal energy, which represents approximately 90 per cent of Dominica’s entire population. It will also provide electricity to the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, which in turn will encourage foreign exchange.

About Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme

Though small in size, Dominica is considered the best alternative citizenship to invest in, according to an independent study by the Financial Times’ PWM publication, which particularly highlighted the programme’s stringent due diligence, efficient times and affordability. After applicants pass the due diligence checks, citizenship hopefuls then choose to either invest in real estate or contribute to a government fund. The latter is known as the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF), and it sponsors public and private sectors in Dominica that need financial support or have economic potential, such as the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Project.

Each eligible person to become a citizen of Dominica adds at least USD 100,000 to the EDF. If they apply jointly as a family, which is possible under Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, these contributions amount to USD 200,000 for a family of four and another USD 25,000 for any additional dependents. Ultimately, the money goes towards modernising the local infrastructure, schools, and hospitals, and even towards developing thriving industries like tourism and IT.

Successful applicants, often within three months, attain the rights that come with Dominican citizenship, like travel to over 75 per cent of the world, including key business hubs like China and increased business prospects and the ability to pass citizenship on for generations to come.

Considering the flow of foreign investment through programmes like citizenship by investment, Dominica is prepared to set long-term goals that exceed sustainability expectations on a global scale.

The government of Dominica has allocated a part of the revenue generated from the Citizenship by Investment Programme to fulfil the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, which include improving marine life, forest management, and youth and women-led grassroots movements for better land stewardship. Additionally, Citizenship by Investment funds have provided a much-needed lifeline in rebuilding, focusing on housing through Dominica’s ‘housing revolution’. The project aims to build over 5,000 hurricane-proof homes across the island for displaced families.

Accordingly, those applicants who pass the vetting process and are allowed to invest can rest assured that their contribution is channelled towards the betterment of their new home country and the lives of their fellow citizens.

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