Jay Fidell provides an update on the current state of local solar energy development in his Think Tech column in today’s Advertiser:
Commercial solar is where the action is these days (photo shows Sunectric's installation at Windward Honda), and the action can only increase if the cost of oil starts climbing again as most predict.
Too Much Abundance?
Combined with improvements in energy storage capabilities, large-scale wind and solar energy development eventually could make OTEC investment seem less attractive if renewables cut dramatically into the fossil fuel requirement to generate electricity here.
Still, we can’t see turning our backs on the world’s greatest solar energy collector and “battery” – the tropical ocean. The old advice about keeping balance in our lives undoubtedly applies here, as well. Hawaii is on the right path in developing its wind and solar energy resources, but success in those fields shouldn’t dampen enthusiasm for what OTEC can do for the state and the nation.
Makai Ocean Engineering’s Van Ryzin also predicted in his lecture that OTEC could be a critical component to a future hydrogen economy in America. Hawaii would have advantages in such an economy thanks to the state’s access to the tropical ocean – reason enough to keep the focus on OTEC as a potential energy and economic game-changer in the islands.