Our post two days later complained that a Honolulu newspaper’s editorial had left OTEC out of its list of “the Islands’ reservoir of power….”
That’s no longer the case. Oil prices that peaked at $147/barrel in July ’08 had the positive effect of accentuating the importance of developing a range of renewables in helping Hawaii get off oil.
Lockheed Martin says it can have a 10-MW OTEC plant operating off Oahu’s Kahe Point within four years, and Sea Solar Power has a representative in town now making a round of meetings about its intentions to build a plant 10 times larger.
So OTEC’s no longer the forgotten resource – still just a potential baseload power source but apparently closer to realizing that potential than ever before.
Here’s an excerpt from Governor Linda Lingle’s September 4th address to the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce on energy and other issues:
Nothing as bad as burning oil
Think about it like this: is any one of those alternatives – wind, solar, wave, ocean thermal energy conversion, geothermal, hydropower – is any of them as bad as taking $5-7 billion a year out of the Hawaii economy and giving it to a foreign country or a foreign company to buy oil to ship it across the ocean to burn into the atmosphere?
I take the position that none of those are as bad as burning fossil fuel, sending pollution into the environment, sending our money outside of the state, creating no jobs for the people of Hawaii. Just taking those billions every year – the very thought of it should upset all of us. That depending on the price of oil, every year, we take our own money that we could be using to create jobs here at home for our people and we hand it off to a foreign country or a foreign company.
So when this issue comes up about the undersea cable, or issues about the solar farm, or an ocean energy project, maybe use this context. Instead of seeing that project in isolation, think about it in the bigger framework. Is it as bad as sending our money out of Hawaii to buy oil from foreign countries or foreign companies? And then burn it and send the pollution into the atmosphere? I take the strong position that there is nothing you can point to that is worse than what we are doing with our money, than what we are doing to our environment.