Caught between abundance and scarcity: geothermal, isolated energy systems, and island interconnection in the eastern Caribbean

Authors: Conor Harrison*, University of South Carolina
Topics: Energy
Keywords: energy, electricity, Caribbean
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Electricity systems in many small islands in the eastern Caribbean are faced with a problem of both scarcity and abundance. Given their volcanic origins, multiple islands in the eastern Caribbean have substantial geothermal energy potential. Yet given the small size and isolated nature of their territories, the islands also have small populations and, by global standards, miniscule electricity demand. The result is that in many cases, electricity demand is so low that it makes construction of geothermal plants financially unfeasible. As a result, many islands are looking towards undersea cables to that would create an integrated electricity grid, and thereby make large-scale geothermal development possible. This paper considers the discourses and spatial imaginaries of island interconnection in the Caribbean, as well as reviewing the multiple studies and planning documents that have examined the issue.

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