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Funding geothermal development in Dominica with citizenship for investment

Roseau Valley, Dominica (source: Dominica Geothermal Development Company)
Alexander Richter Alexander Richter 27 Jan 2019

The Caribbean island state of Dominica has been able to tap into a program that incentivises investment through giving citizenship. With the funds received from the program and IDB/ Caribbean Development Bank funding Dominica is now pushing its geothermal project.

The geothermal project in Dominica has been in the news over the years, first with the ambitions of development and the stage by stage approach to development. With challenges faced in funding the project, the government has been active behind the scenes pushing for a country-owned approach to development.

In December, Dominica’s Energy Minister, Ian Douglas, addressed the Government’s plans to build a geothermal plant in the third quarter of 2019. Construction will be set on the outskirts of the capital city of Roseau. It hopes to power 23,000 homes with clean geothermal energy, which represents approximately 90% of the entire population.

Funding for the geothermal project was partly acquired through Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. Additional funds came from the World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, as we reported in December 2018. But to put up funding itself, the country looked at an incentive used in the Caribbean called investment for citizenship, as explained in a recent release by CS Global.

Though small in size, Dominica is considered the best second citizenship to invest in, according to an independent study by the Financial Times’ publication, PWM. After they pass the due diligence checks, citizenship hopefuls then choose to either invest in real-estate or a contribute to a government fund. The latter is called the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) and it sponsors public and private sectors in Dominica that need the financial support or have economic potential. 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 CBI Programme, these contributions amount to USD 175,000 for a couple, USD 200,000 for a family of four, and another USD 25,000 for any additional dependents. Eventually, the money goes towards modernising the local infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and even develop thriving industries like tourism and IT.

UN predicts that Dominica will have the greatest GDP growth in 2019 in the Caribbean region. Considering the constant flow of foreign investment, Dominica is prepared to set long-term goals that exceed sustainability expectations on a global scale. After Hurricane Maria in 2017, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt pledged to make Dominica “world’s first climate resilient nation”. He immediately launched the Climate Resilient Execution Agency of Dominica, otherwise known as CREAD. It aims to consolidate sustainability efforts, raise funds and provide essential services.

The geothermal plant will have a substantially positive impact the island’s national advancement and the lives of its citizens. “With the commissioning of this plant, we will be in a position to benefit from clean, reliable, low-cost, renewable, high-quality energy supply in the future, which will benefit all sectors of productive activity in Dominica,” said Minister Ian Douglas.

In addition to exploring the benefits of renewable energy, the island’s plastic ban has been in operation as of January 1st. It was described by National Geographic as one the world’s most comprehensive plastic bans. This follows the island’s “Housing Revolution” initiative, which builds new homes that can withstand most known weather events. Like the geothermal project, the scheme is funded by the CBI programme.

Source: Release by CS Global Partners