My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Geologist Krishna Vaswani to tap into 15MW of Geothermal Energy in Jamaica - Poisoned Groundwater and more Earthquakes are possible problems with Geothermal Energy

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Geologist Krishna Vaswani to tap into 15MW of Geothermal Energy in Jamaica - Poisoned Groundwater and more Earthquakes are possible problems with Geothermal Energy

Earlier in January 2013, a Geologist named Krishna Vaswani floated the idea of raising US$4 million as an initial sum of US$15 million to build a Geothermal Energy Plant in Jamaica as stated in “Jamaican Geographer To Develop Geothermal Energy Plant”, published Friday January 25, 2013 by Steven Jackson, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

His proposal, originally floated at the three-day Jamaica Stock Exchange Investment and Capital Markets Conference in Kingston, which closed Thursday January 24th 2013 and had originally begun on Tuesday January 22nd 2013, sounded strange. After all, Jamaica has no volcanoes albeit we do have active Mineral Springs at Milk River Bath, in Clarendon, one of the most potent in the world and in Bath, St. Thomas.

So how exactly would this work? My article will shed light on Geothermal Energy in Jamaica and the Dangers associated with this type of Energy

Geothermal Energy in Jamaica – Steam Power from Magma Underground

That usually indicates that there may be volcanic material coming in contact with the water table and thus giving rise to these hot Springs laden with minerals. If so, then Geothermal Energy becomes possible but not necessarily by tapping the steam from the Hot Water already in the ground to turn Steam Turbines. Another way it’s done is to pump hot water down into the Ground, making it hot and as it rises back to the surface as Steam, utilize the superhot Steam in Steam Turbines.

To do this, however, one has to locate sites in Jamaica where the Lithosphere is thinnest and the underground Water Table is interacting with the Mantle of the Earth’s Crust, which would usually be located around a Spring. Then seismic surveys would have to be done to determine the depth of the Mantle at those points and how feasible it would be to drill boreholes to pump in Water and get back pressurized Steam to turn Steam Turbines.

This is the premise behind Geothermal Energy in Jamaica, for which Geologist Krishna Vaswani has been exploring twelve (12) sites recommended by the PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) for their potential  to drill boreholes to supply Geothermal Energy to Jamaica as stated in the article “Geothermal Energy project sites narrowed to six”, published Wednesday September 18, 2013, by Richard Browne, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner:

1.      Guava River Spring, St Thomas
2.      Bath Spring, St Thomas
3.      Mt Felix Spring, St Thomas
4.      Garbrand Hall Spring, St Thomas
5.      Rockfort Spring in Kingston
6.      Ferry Hill Spring in St Catherine
7.      Salt River Spring in Clarendon
8.      Milk River Spring in Clarendon
9.      Black River Spring in St Elizabeth
10.  Windsor Spring in St Ann
11.  Yankee River Spring in St Ann
12.  Buxton Spring in Westmoreland

From this list of twelve (12), six (6) will be chosen for drilling Test Bore holes to determine the potential of trapped underground Steam as well as if its’ feasible to pump water into the boreholes and get steam coming up back via another connected borehole.

Already other Caribbean Islands have expressed an interest in developing Geothermal Energy to reduce their Electricity costs. The Energy Minister Rayburn Blackmore of Dominica has expressed similar sentiments earlier in July 2013 as stated in “Geothermal Energy To Reduce Dominicans Light Bills By 40%”, Published Monday July 23, 2012, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Interestingly, Montserrat, a country with a very active volcanic Past, has also sought to tap into Geothermal Energy as a means or reducing their dependence on Imported Foreign Oil. They’ve only just begun to explore this possibility thanks to the United Kingdom's DFID (Department for International Development) allocation of 8.5 million British Pounds to the drilling of three (3) test well, one of which is already showing promise as stated in “Encouraging Signs For Geothermal Energy Project”, Published Tuesday September 3, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Meanwhile in the Dominica, the Roosevelt Skerrit Administration, like Jamaica, are also faced with an Energy Crisis as most of their Oil used for Electricity Generation is imported. They're looking to move away from Farming mainly involving Banana Production and Tourism into Manufacturing for export via attracting Foreign Inventors to Dominica as well as reduce the Electricity Bills of its islanders.

This is as argued by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit earlier in March 2013 at the Trafalgar/Shawford/Fond Canie Village Meeting as stated in “Geothermal Project Will Bring Relief To Electricity Users - Skerrit”, Published Tuesday March 5, 2013, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But to do that they need cheaper Electricity, like Jamaica does. This is why we’re pinning our hopes on the 360MW LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Power Plant! Hopefully EWI (Energy World International) should be able to pay their bid Bond of US$7.4 million by this week now that they’re the preferred bidder as stated in my blog article entitled “Azurest Cambridge Power failed to provide the Bid Bond and Energy World International sent in to bat for 360MW LNG Power Plant - Energize Jamaica Should be the Rightful No. 2 Bidder”.

Problems with Geothermal Energy – Poisoned Groundwater and more Earthquakes

In Dominica, however, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has been facing criticisms from persons who had originally been supporters of Geothermal Energy citing health concerns over contaminated Ground Water as well as the potential to cause increased Seismic activity i.e. Earthquakes.

Not to mention possibly releasing poisonous gasses out of the ground into the atmosphere and toxic minerals such as Arsenic from out of the Earth as seeping into the Drinking Water supply. Even more dangerous, there’s also the danger of Chromium (VI) used in Steam Turbines to reduce rusting caused by superheated Steam winding up in Drinking Water as well, Erin Brokovitch (2000) Style.

These environmental concerns may explain the secretive nature of Mr. Vaswani and his partners. Interestingly too, some of his figures have also changed, as back in January he’s said there was some 100MW of Geothermal Power in Jamaica. Apparently that has changed; despite the presence of the Bid for the 115MW Renewable Energy Contract, Geologist Krishna Vaswani has expressed no interest in pursue the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) Contract.

Most likely they (Mr. Vaswani and his partners) plan to pursue a revenue model based on an IPP (Independent Power Provider) model by selling their 15MW of power to JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company). But this is only a guess, as the Geologist has been cagey about details of his project, his partners and even the final six (6) sites.

Geothermal Energy has also been linked to increased Earthquakes and Groundwater contamination both from the operations as well as from allowing poisonous chemicals to leak into the groundwater from the Earth below. As such, albeit it may be clean Energy, pumping water into the ground may set off Earthquakes and potentially trigger off even bigger ones as explained in my blog article entitled “The 4.2 EarthQuake - Simon Crosskill and Neville Bell are Children of Fire Mountain

Geothermal Energy development may face similar scrutiny here in Jamaica as it does in Dominica and other Caribbean Islands, hence the cageyness of Geologist Krishna Vaswani and his equally silent partners!

More on this story on my blog as well as the Geezam blog a more details come to light! 

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