Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ends of the Energy Spectrum - Efficiency and OTEC

Forget our earlier suggestion. “Waikoblowa” has been calm for two straight days, so tearing down the hotels here to build wind farms maybe isn’t such a good idea after all. We just wish the weather gods would give us back our sunshine; the satellite image suggests several more days of grayness.

So let’s get serious about two opposites on the energy spectrum – relatively low-cost efficiency and admittedly high-cost ocean thermal energy conversion. Science Applications International Corp. has been awarded a multi-year State of Hawaii contract to manage ratepayer funded energy efficiency and conservation programs.

Hawaiian Electric Company previously ran the program, which looked to some like a conflict of interest – an electron-selling company overseeing a conservation effort. SAIC’s contract will run for nearly five years and is subject to renewal.

East of Africa in the Indian Ocean, Reunion Island is studying OTEC for its potential to help meet the island’s energy needs. Reunion, a French overseas department, joins French Polynesia in showing an interest in OTEC.

As noted here last October, Xenesys Inc. of Japan and the Pacific Petroleum Company group of Tahiti are studying OTEC’s application in French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. We’ve heard nothing more from that venture since the Fall and hope no news is good news.

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