The National Energy Road Map in conjunction with the Efate Geothermal Power and Island-Ring Grid Development Framework were developed to guide Vanuatu’s future energy requirements. Subsequently, preliminary geothermal resource investigations identified the presence of a high temperature geothermal system in the north-east quadrant of the Efate Island, Takara, Vanuatu. As a response, the Vanuatu government issued a 30-year production license to develop geothermal resources located at Takara. Electricity generated by this proposed plant will be used to displace a component of the island’s current diesel-based electricity generation. Transmission line infrastructure development along the island’s main coastal ring-road is already in progress to link the proposed geothermal plant with Port Vila. The next stage of project activities is underway involving exploration drilling at a number of sites and further ecological assessments.
Ecobalance was engaged to assess the potential impacts upon the marine environment within the investigation area from the exploration, construction and operation of the proposed Takara geothermal plant inclusive of:
It also included a detailed assessment of potential impacts associated with the proposed exploration drilling activities, as well as a more general assessment of impacts associated with the construction, operation and decommissioning of production facilities, including the potential issues associated with the intake and discharge of seawater.
Marine habitats within the investigation area included: beach/rocky shore; reef flats; reef flats/seagrass; outer fringing reef and near shore coastal waters, which are in a relatively healthy condition. The local community are heavily reliant on these habitats for their food and their livelihood. Population growth, over harvesting, climate change and pollution are identified as the major threats.
Potential impacts on the marine environment from the Takara Geothermal Power plant vary among the four stages of development. Impacts are predicted to be relatively low and within acceptable limits provided that appropriate controls are implemented, including the detailed design of infrastructure and development of environmental management and monitoring plans.