Thursday, February 25, 2010

NOAA Schedules OTEC Environmental Workshop in Hawaii this June

We don’t think it’s been widely publicized yet (let us know if we’re wrong), but two sources confirm that NOAA has scheduled an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) workshop on environmental issues to be held in the last half of June 2010 at an undisclosed location in Hawaii. No other information is known at this time.

It’s encouraging to see continuing OTEC activity within NOAA. A “technical readiness” workshop was held in November at the New England Conference Center at the University of New Hampshire, and a NOAA delegation visited Hawaii two weeks later.

With yesterday's news that Deepwater Structures Inc. is soliciting investment in its plans to build an OTEC pilot plant using allegedly new technology, there seems to be more OTEC “buzz” in recent months.

If you know something more about this workshop, please let us know by leaving a comment, below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

With Radio Show in the Past, We Play OTEC Catch-Up: Solicitation for Project Financing, plus, ‘We Don’t Need Lockheed Martin To Do This’

As noted over at our sister blog, I’ve given up the volunteer gig at Hawaii Public Radio to produce and host a weekly energy-focused program called Energy Futures. We had a good seven-month run examining energy issues in the Aloha State in much greater depth than the daily news media can provide. But he time commitment turned out to be too great, and I’ll now be focusing even more on client work – especially in the renewable energy sector – in my Carlson Communications consultancy.

I’ll also be devoting more time here to Hawaii Energy Options, which frankly has played second fiddle to the Energy Futures show. And what better way to jump back in than with an online message from the Gerson Lehman Group that amounts to a solicitation of investor interest in a 100 MW OTEC pilot plan in Hawaii.

Quoting from the communication:

“Deepwater Structures Inc. (of Houston, TX) is looking for funding from investors for the renewable energy effort to build the first power plant in Hawai`i. The Govt. of USA, Dept of Energy would assist us with fund for this multi-million dollar project but there is a need to raise the matching 20% of the proposal funding from other source.”

Maybe there have been other similar solicitations in the two years I’ve been writing this OTEC-centric blog, but I can’t recall seeing one. It’s somewhat intriguing to see such a straight-forward and widely disseminated document. We’ll have to keep the Google Alert app tuned up to see what develops.

No Love for Lockheed?

Google also provided a link to this somewhat amusing story out of Nova Scotia – although Lockheed Martin may not think so.

It seems Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter met recently with Lockheed officials in Washington as he investigates ways to develop renewable energy technologies in the Canadian province.

What's puzzling is the Premier’s somewhat aggressive and perhaps unprovoked statement that, “We don’t need Lockheed Martin to do this,” according to the Chronicle Herald newspaper.

For its part, Lockheed Martin seems happy to work with Canada and intends to add 100 more employees to its Halifax staff.

Stay tuned for new developments in "Nova Scotia—Lockheed affair.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

French President Sees Potential of “Worldwide Revolution” Using OTEC

Leave it to the French to make a strong push for ocean thermal energy conversion. It was a Frenchman, after all, who first conjured up the theory.

President Nicholas Sarkozy touted OTEC for Reunion Island during a visit there last month, word of which has just reached us thanks to OTEC News. France has set aside a few million euros for a pilot project on Reunion that’s been underway for about a year.

Now, that’s the kind of federal support we like to see for our favorite renewable energy technology. We can only hope Washington, D.C will see the wisdom therein.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hawaii Energy Issues Getting Their Share of Attention in the New Year

The State Legislature is busy considering energy-related legislation, a wave energy buoy has been deployed in Hawaiian waters, and enthusiasm for green energy is generally running riot in Hawaii. What else is new? Lots. Unfortunately, one of our other blogs has been soaking up most of our time this year, as has the show we produce and host on Hawaii Public Radio. We’ll do better.

Watch Out, California

That’s the Los Angeles Times’ admonition in yesterday’s long story about Hawaii’s ambitious green energy plans. And we have little choice, says the Times:

“Hawaii residents already pay the highest pump princes and electricity rates in the country…. More worrison still is global warming. The threat of rising seas and pounding storms linked to climate change has put Hawaii on a collision course with Mother Nature.”

The story features the work of the Natural Energy Research Laboratory of Hawaii Authority on the Big Island and among other initiatives mentions one of favorites, ocean thermal energy conversion.

No Way To Treat the PUC

Earlier in the week, the Honolulu Advertiser editorialized on the view that the “State needs to finance Hawaii’s energy revolution” and could do that by ensuring the Public Utilities Commission has the funds it needs to do its job.

And so it goes in Hawaii – the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy” with more potential than it can adequately develop at any one time. Good thing we have two whole decades to meet the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative’s 2030 goals.