Curiously, there’s no mention in the summary of the one thing necessary to make such a large investment pay off -- an undersea electrical cable to transmit the energy to Oahu and the other islands in the chain. Even the complete Q&A exchange in the original HOT SEAT post fails to mention the cable issue except for one fleeting reference in the editor’s introduction to the session.
That’s a hole big enough for an oil tanker’s passage. We sought to plug another one (from our perspective) about Lanai’s energy planning by asking Saunders why C&C’s leadership has shown little interest in ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) to help the island eliminate fossil fuels from its energy mix –- something we’ve proposed several times at this blog, including here and here:
The caution here is that the U.S. DOE has shown little interest in OTEC for more than a decade and seems stuck in the old paradigm when low-cost oil made OTEC an unrealistic option. It also doesn’t sound like David Murdock’s usual SOP to rely on a government agency for guidance on what to do next.
To be fossil-fuel-free, Lanai will need a baseload source of power such as OTEC or a way to store energy (not yet economic) from intermittent power sources – the solar farm now under construction and the wind farm C&C wants to build.
We suggest Castle & Cooke take note of Hawaiian Electric’s recent encouraging words about ocean energy technology and do more than wait for a DOE analysis on how to make its little island in the Pacific a renewable energy model and magnet for energy industry and eco-visitors who would fill Mr. Murdock’s two money-losing resorts there.