Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More OTEC News: US DOE Favors Lockheed Martin with 2 Grants

It’s not the amount that’s important; it’s the intent.

One million dollars is pin money to the Department of Energy, but Lockheed Martin and other ocean thermal energy conversion advocates have reason to be happy at the latest grant money headed toward Lockheed.

Whether it merits the big headline above Lockheed's PR release is another question. If the day ever comes when the government doles out really serious money for OTEC, we’ll all need bigger computer screens to handle the news.

And here's a gratuitous mention of Hawaii in this blog post to be sure the state shows up along with OTEC as often as possible in OTEC-related web searches. Hawaii is the obvious front-runner candidate for the first pilot plant and eventual commercialization.

Hawaii. Hawaii. Hawaii. We can't put say it often enough.

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 has a 1250-word piece today headlined Ocean/Tidal/Stream Power: The Road to Commercialization. The cheering is getting pretty loud!