Setback to renewable energy goals as Takara geothermal project is abandoned; Tanna needs more roads, says Natuman

Takara, north Efate, site of Geodynamic's now-abandoned geothermal operation. Photo: Geodynamics

Takara, north Efate, site of Geodynamic’s now-abandoned geothermal operation. Photo: Geodynamics

In its latest annual report, the Australian commercial energy developer Geodynamics sees the much-vaunted Takara geo-thermal energy project as of limited to no value in terms of likely return to its shareholders. Geodynamics is in the process of abandoning the big alternative energy site for Efate. Daily Post today gives an account of the history of the venture. Takara’s first geothermal prospects were undertaken in 1972 and then from 2011. In its annual report, Geodynamics also states that “the reduction in world oil prices has also contributed to this [abandonment of Takara geothermal], reducing the immediate need to address the transition away from diesel, with competition from other renewable energy sources (solar, wind and hydro) also playing a role. While this quiet shut down of the geothermal project is certainly a blow to Vanuatu’s green energy ambitions which target 90% renewable energy by 2020 and 100% by 2030 according to IRENA, and the 2013 Energy Road Map, we can only hope that Vanuatu’s other natural resources — solar, wind and hydro, and coconut fuel and other new technologies — can continue to grow and deliver as safe and sustainable alternatives to Geodynamics’ broken promises. And possibly the new Salwai Government, with a determination to succeed where others have failed, may be able to suggest other possibilities.

Today’s Daily Post also has Deputy PM Natuman, on Tanna, pointing out that villagers in the south of the island are facing difficulties in accessing essential services even though the CCECC road, soon to be tar sealed, runs from Whitegrass airport to Lenakel, Bethel, Kwataparen and to Green Point. The economic zone, however, is located away from the road in the bush. Tafea Provincial President, Job Teo, said that upgrading feeder roads is part of the council’s infrastructure plan. Australia is already assisting and the French government has agreed to become involved. Natuman applauds CCECC for contributing to the country’s economic sector.

Vanuatu Government Public Relations Officer Hilaire Bule at the Prime Minister’s Office says the Leader of the Opposition is misleading people with talk of “a motion” when he has just lost three MPs to the government side. He says Kalsakau should be aware that the vast majority of the people are rallying behind the Salwai Government, in power for just over two months.

GJP’s MP for Paama, Fred Tasso, is determined to bring improved techniques and new skills to farming for his people. The public has learned of this through radio and newspaper reports in recent days. Planting rice, care of chickens, new pig feed recipes, and banana, kumala and manioc chip production are amongst the new products and processes being developed on Paama.


4 Comments on “Setback to renewable energy goals as Takara geothermal project is abandoned; Tanna needs more roads, says Natuman”

  1. Nasimal ( Nasingamelip ) says:

    Something for our Vanuatu Government to think about, geothermal is not wise to determine our energy in the islands. Why don’t they do feasibility studies into combination of tidal, wind and solar energy instead of geothermal which does destroy landscapes. Thank you. AHAYAH bless you all.

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    • dailyvanuatu says:

      Nasimal, geothermal energy plants are mostly underground, so they are fairly minimal. Many Vanuatu islands, being volcanic, have an abundant source of geothermal energy in rocks not far below the surface – we’d be crazy not to use this 100% renewable resource for our power needs! Large solar plants require more land than any of the other renewable sources you’ve mentioned, and their infrastructure are less than ideal in a cyclone-prone country. There’s a cost to any kind of development, but it is abundantly clear that the cost associated renewable energy are nothing compared the costs of global warming, as Cyclones Pam and Winston have shown

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      • Iain H says:

        I am a strong supporter of alternative energy especially geothermal. However your comment regarding cyclones Pam and Winston resulting from global warming has no factual basis.
        Alternative energy is good for lots of reasons without having to make things up.

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      • dailyvanuatu says:

        You’re right to say that the science is inconclusive for global warming’s effect on specific events; the el niño undoubtedly played a part. However, it is not quite right to say there is no factual basis to support what I’ve said: the IPCC says the trend in our region is likely to be less frequent but more powerful tropical storms, on the basis of that the ocean is storing massive amounts of additional heat. More stored heat equals higher intensity cyclones, and climate models are in agreement on this. With more than 90% of the excess heat generated by our greenhouse gas emissions stored in the ocean, especially in tropical and subtropical regions, we in Vanuatu should be very concerned with the possibility of stronger cyclones. Then there’s the fact that sea-level rise is predicted to be higher in the tropics too, due to regional sea temperature, winds and currents: this is likely to make storm surges more destructive as well.

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