“Nevis will soon become the greenest place on planet Earth,” said Hon. Mark A.G. Brantley, Minister of Tourism for Nevis (and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation for St. Kitts and Nevis) at a lunch visit in Manhattan. “We will be the first destination on earth with 100 percent green energy—an achievement no other destination on earth can boast of.” Yes, that’s even counting Iceland.
Using the term “volcanic garden” for the reserves of geothermal energy beneath Nevis’ literally green expanses, this smaller half of St. Kitts-Nevis is employing technical assistance from the U.S. State Department and Thermal Energy Partners to create a geothermal power plant. “Nevis at peak demand uses 10 megawatts of power daily,” he explained, and that’s what the facility will be able to produce in December 2017. A second phase, he added, could ramp that up to 150 MW, “which would enable us to export power to neighboring islands,” thus making Nevis, what Minister Brantley calls, “the Norway of the Caribbean.”
But how will this affect the travel business?
- The cost of doing business in Nevis will go down dramatically, he explained, because energy, even in an era of bargain-priced oil futures, is still a huge expense for hotels and other businesses in the islands.
- The availability of a reliable, steady, and affordable source of energy will attract investors to Nevis.
- At the same time, the revenue from exporting geothermally produced energy will spare Nevis from feeling pressure to develop every inch of coast into a beach resort.
- “We are an authentic island, with no all-inclusive resorts or big cruise ships,” said Minister Brantley, the sort of place where a Justin Trudeau would spend his Christmas holidays. “Nevis does not cater to everybody,” he added. “We attract travelers, not tourists, people who travel with a social conscience and not just for ‘sun, sea, and sand.'”
In short, Nevis’ geothermal bonanza is expected to supply enough revenues and make high-end hospitality and light industry so cost-effective that the island can continue to preserve its forests, shores, and waters—the very things that attract the Trudeau families of the world. Nevis doesn’t want to be a mass tourism destination, and with this achievement, it won’t have to be. For more information, visit nevisisland.com.