Thursday, March 27, 2008

Will Palau Show Hawaii the Way to OTEC's Future?

Is it possible that Hawaii will allow our fellow islanders of Palau to be the trailblazers in the development of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) in the Pacific?  No offense intended to the 21,ooo Palauans, but that would be more than a little embarrassing for a state that has been trying for decades to establish a new industry -- any industry -- here.  OTEC could be that industry.

Information about Palau's initiative comes from Guam's Pacific Daily News and a column by its former editor, Joe Murphy, who reports:

"The government of Palau has asked the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to fund a feasibility study on an (OTEC) and fresh water production facility."  He continues:

"I, personally, have been an enthusiast about the OTEC method of producing electricity for years. I have followed the successful building of a trial plant in Hawaii, and have wondered: Why the delay in upsizing the OTEC production to a full-scale plant that could conceivably work for all the islands of the Pacific?"

That's a real good question, Joe.  We don't know about Guam and (until recently) Palau, but here in Hawaii, OTEC usually doesn't even make the list of renewable options available to our isolated society. We think that's because our energy and policy planners are stuck in the past -- about energy economics, about alleged too-expensive production costs, about a lot of things.

Read Joe Murphy's column from earlier this month (here's the link again) and then spend a few moments with our March 16th post about how OTEC could be an ideal solution for Hawaii's island of Lanai.  

If you're an engineer, scientist or otherwise familiar with OTEC, please leave a comment.  This blog's purpose is advanced each time someone leaves a thoughtful contribution.

And if you're a resident of Palau -- well, cut us some slack here in Hawaii.  We're having a little trouble keeping up with you.

No comments: