Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Daily Dark News Diet Demands Perspective, and More News from Pacific’s 'OTEC Leader' -- Palau

We’ve written previously about initiatives in Micronesia to promote ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) that seem more advanced than what’s happening in Hawaii – on the surface, at least.  Palau may not be the true "leader" in OTEC technology, which was proven in Hawaiian waters, after all, but we like the government's highly visible support for the concept, a stance officials in Hawaii might well emulate.

Now comes word that Palau’s House of Delegates adopted a resolution today seeking funding for a feasibility study on whether OTEC technology is well-suited for the Republic.  

Palau finds itself in the same fix as we are – heavily dependent on fuel oil to generate electricity. The resolution makes the case for OTEC to not only provide electricity but fresh water and cooling for air conditioning. (The reso’s reference to a U.S. Navy “OTEC pilot program in Hawaii" seems dubious, as we know of no such Navy project here, but it has the right idea.)

Pick your Poison -- Growth or Warming

Elsewhere today, a commentary in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin by a retired University of Hawaii oceanographer questions the whole global warning premise. We take the threat more seriously than this professor emeritus apparently does, but we’ll quote one of his concluding paragraphs anyway:

“The damage to our world from the increase in its population, which will double in the next 100 years, will be much larger than any possible effect of global warming. The ever-rising population will simply trample the environment to death and will result in more energy consumption. The lack of space for the additional billions will cause water shortages, food shortages, civil unrest and eventually wars.”

Visions of the future don’t get much darker than that, but it won’t end that way if we take care of the here and now. OTEC and the other renewables need focused support wherever conditions allow – and especially in vulnerable isolated societies in places like Palau and Hawaii.

Read our first post at this blog and why we’ve started it.


prh said...

The US Navy "OTEC pilot project" was to be the OCEES 1 MW at NELHA which was to preceed the 8 MW plant on Diego Garcia. Regarding the professor, it doesn't much matter if you believe in global warming or not. American servicemen and women are dying to provide oil to the US when electrical power and vehicle fuel could be provided by OTEC plants. Does the US want to be put into the position of fighting resource wars with China, etc in the future? Or would we rather be selling OTEC plants to other nations and employing our own engineers and industry? The choice is pretty clear and future generations will thank us for adopting OTEC on a massive scale NOW.

Doug Carlson said...

Well said, prh. Prove the OTEC concept here and then launch it massively wherever it works. A post at this blog earlier in April linked a site that listed dozens of undeveloped nations where conditions seem conducive to OTEC development.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point that prh makes! cmj