The Caribbean island of Nevis plans to use geothermal energy to meet 100% of its electricity needs by 2010. The island will begin using geothermal energy next summer.

The 36-square-mile island with a population of 12,500 has the potential to produce as much as 900 megawatts of electricity from geothermal sources, according to Carlisle Powell, minister for public utilities and the environment. One megawatt is enough electrical capacity to power 1,370 typical homes in the western U.S. for a month, according to the Consumer Energy Commission of Sacramento, Calif.

The Nevis Island Administration licensed Nevis-based West Indies Power to explore the island’s geothermal resources with the aim of producing the energy for on-island use as well as exporting renewable energy to surrounding islands at a rate cheaper than current market prices.

Powell said that the high cost of oil had forced the government to introduce a fuel surcharge earlier this year to its electricity consumers.

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