Saturday, March 22, 2008

Excellent Comment Contributes to the Discussion; Looking to Australia for What Hawaii Could Become

This blog is serving the purpose for which it was created -- attracting attention for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) and eliciting comments from supporters who have much to add to the discussion. For an sample of such opinion, check out the comment left by "robv" to our March 17th post, either by scrolling down or clicking here.

robv obviously is knowledgeable about OTEC and lists several challenges that must be addressed and overcome. Economics, risk and politics are among them, but "robv" concludes the comment with optimism:
"The good news is that now is the time to make it happen -- high oil prices, unacceptable global warming, energy security issues, and even politics are lining up to provide the opportunity to make a run at this technology."

Thanks for the insights, robv; please stay in touch.

Elsewhere, today's Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports on a Public Utilities Commission decision on net metering that is attracting comments, too, including ours. As we posted there, net metering obviously has a role in reducing imported fossil fuel, but it's a relatively minor roll. OTEC is the elephant in the living room; we have to insist that policy makers acknowledge its presence and potential to liberate Hawaii from our strangling dependence on imported fossil fuel for base load electrical generation. It's an imperative.

Looking 'Down Under' for Inspiration

There's a wealth of OTEC information on the net, and we can't claim any special insight on where to go for it. One of the most impressive sites we've seen was mentioned by a doctoral student at Yale University at his website. It's more than impressive; it amounts to an embarrassment for Hawaii.

Check out this OTEC promotional site sponsored by the port city of Townsville, Australia. This is what Hawaii should be doing! OTEC's potential benefits for the state are obvious, yet we search in vain to see and hear much of anything about OTEC from government and energy industry leaders for reasons known best to them.

Well, let's start asking them about those reasons. Continued denial and avoidance of OTEC's potential would amount to malfeasance of office from our perspective. Kicking and dragging versus nudging and encouragement -- however it happens, policy and opinion leaders must begin to acknowledge the technology's potential.

And with all due respect to the learned scientists and engineers who are infinitely more knowledgeable than we are, you've failed to move the ball. That's what we're attempting to do at this blog.

So jump right in. As you well know, the water's fine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


A couple issues I would like to see you or others address:

a. Is OTEC elibible for tax credits and if not why not?

What little I know about renewable's ---particularly, wind --- is that the wind folks have lobbied congress and gotten substantial tax credits to build and operate these systems.

Have the OTEC folks done the same and/or is OTEC eligible for favorable tax incentives to build an OTEC plan under the current tax code?

I may be wrong, but my impression is that tax credits and low capital costs are what's driving Castle and Cook's decision to build wind systems.

And what about loan guarantees?

In this regard, I agree with Rob that the high capital costs to build an OTEC plant maybe be holding up OTEC development which would lead one to think that perhaps this is a place for the state or federal gov to step in and provide loan guarantees for the loan necessary to build the first OTEC plant.

b. Also, what about geothermal? You make passing reference to geothermal yet it's a proven technology and already in place on the Big Island. Furthermore, the "deep water cable" technology is also proven and is capable of bringing the power to Oahu and/or Maui where Hawaii's big population centers are. cmj