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Hawaii First to Harness Deep-Ocean Temperatures for Power

Hawaii First to Harness Deep Ocean Temperatures for Power Scientific American


A small but operational ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant was inaugurated in Hawaii last week, making it the first in the world. The opening of the 100-kilowatt facility marked the first time a closed-cycle OTEC plant will be connected to the U.S. grid. But that amount of energy production can power only 120 Hawaiian homes for a year, a tiny drop in the ocean for the island state’s own energy needs. What promise OTEC holds for other regions is even less certain.

The United States entered OTEC research in 1974 with the establishment of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). But after decades of investment in the development of OTEC, this new Navy-bankrolled project is still seen by many as only a way to test the process rather than secure the place of OTEC as a viable renewable technology.

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Meanwhile, solar generates more electricity in Hawaii than the grid can handle. 

Good point. "Ocean thermal energy" sounds a lot like "boil the ocean".

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