Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NDIA Publishes Detailed and Encouraging Article on OTEC Status

Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) isn’t advancing fast enough to satisfy advocates of this potential baseload generation technology. So when a 1400-word article appears in a National Defense Industrial Association publication that reads like a cheering section, it’s time for some fist bumping.

The piece is a soup-to-nuts review of the OTEC technology, including its history in Hawaiian waters and OTEC’S chicken-and-egg problem:

"Because of the high costs associated with water pumping technology, the OTEC concept will not be able to attract investors unless a demonstration plant is built, experts say.

“'The solution is to get a megawatt-class plant in the water up and running so that the industry can see, one, it’s feasible. Two, it works, and three, we understand the costs,'" says Robert Varley, program manager of the Navy’s $8.1 million contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop a 10-megawatt pilot plant.

Lockheed’s Ted Johnson was in Honolulu recently conferring with State officials, including State Energy Administrator Ted Johnson, and told Hawaii Energy Options the company remains committed to building the pilot plant here.

With more than 9 months remaining in the year, there’s plenty of time left for 2010 to be the year OTEC moves from having great potential to being (water) shovel ready. Articles like this one keep the cheering section energized.

9 am Update: Not to be outdone, Renewable Energy World.com has a 1250-word piece today headlined Ocean/Tidal/Stream Power: The Road to Commercialization. The cheering is getting pretty loud!

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