Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTE) and United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for feasibility study for world’s first US-based commercial on-shore OTEC plant and Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) systems in USVI. DCNS will participate in the feasibility study and will be the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for OTEC power plants in selected markets.
Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation (OTE) is moving forward with a study to evaluate the feasibility and potential benefits to the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) of installing on-shore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) renewable energy power plants and Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) facilities. This announcement comes on the heels of June 2013 headlines that OTE and DCNS, a world leader in naval defense and an innovative player in energy, signed a MOU to jointly develop and build OTEC and SWAC systems globally in a variety of selected markets, including USVI.
The benefits to be assessed in the USVI study by both partners stem from both the baseload (24/7) clean electricity generated by OTEC, as well as the various related products associated with OTEC and SWAC, including abundant fresh drinking water, energy-saving air conditioning, sustainable aquaculture and mariculture, and agricultural enhancement projects for the Islands of St Thomas and St Croix. Costs of the study will not be borne by USVI.
The Honorable Shawn-Michael Malone, President of the USVI Senate, commented on his signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) authorizing OTE’s feasibility study. “The most fundamental duty of government is to protect the health and welfare of its citizens,” said Senator Malone. “These clean energy technologies have the potential to improve the air quality and environment for our residents, and to provide the foundation for meaningful economic development. Therefore, it is our duty as elected representatives to explore the feasibility and possible benefits of OTEC and SWAC for the people of USVI.”
Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation Executive Chairman Jeremy P. Feakins echoed Senator Malone’s comments regarding the need to study the feasibility, and benefits of these technologies: “Thanks to the leadership of the USVI, we will be moving forward to thoroughly evaluate the applicability of OTEC, SWAC, and their associated fresh water and sustainable food production for the people here.”Feakins added, “If the feasibility study bears out that these clean technologies are well-suited to USVI consistent with preliminary data, their installation here could have a tremendous positive impact in terms of long-term energy-independence and economic development based upon this Territory’s most abundant renewable local resource…the ocean.”
Emmanuel Brochard, DCNS Vice President OTEC programs further noted: “The testing and development work conducted by DCNS over the last five years on a high-power, floating offshore OTEC solution has allowed the development of an on-shore OTEC model. This system, that can be coupled with a SWAC (Sea-Water Air Conditioning) installation or other applications as freshwater production or aquaculture, appears from available information to be particularly well-suited to island sites as USVI. We are proud to be a partner for the USVI OTEC study, which combines the expertise and strength of OTE and DCNS. This partnership is the promise for our companies of joint development of clean, secure energy and abundant fresh water for millions of people around the world.”
Under the 2013 agreement between OTE and DCNS, OTE will serve as the developer that will build, own and operate on-shore and off-shore OTEC systems and SWAC systems globally, as well as securing financing. DCNS will be the EPC contractor for these systems in selected international markets. The projects will be pursued together by OTE and DCNS with direction from the Joint Marketing Council established by the companies.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), there are more than 100 countries and territories world-wide, including USVI, with conditions appearing favorable for OTEC and SWAC facilities. And with many of these locations having numerous sites for these clean technologies, there are literally hundreds of potential OTEC and SWAC applications in the tropics and subtropics, where 3 billion people live.
Eighty percent of the sun’s solar energy is stored in the surface waters of the world’s oceans. That is 4000 times the amount of energy the world uses every day…and this energy is replenished daily by the sun. OTEC taps into that vast renewable energy source by using the temperature differential between the warm surface water and cold deep ocean water to make clean baseload (24/7) electricity.
In 2009, after more than 30 years and $300 million spent on OTEC Research and Development, the U.S. Government agency NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) issued a report as to OTEC’s readiness for immediate implementation. The NOAA report concluded that, using a single cold water pipe (CWP), a 10MW OTEC plant is now “technically feasible using current design, manufacturing, deployment techniques and materials.” Utilizing more than one CWP, 20MW OTEC plants can now be built using off the shelf components.
SWAC uses the deep cold ocean water as the non-polluting refrigerant for cooling buildings, reducing electricity consumption by an estimated 80-90%. This technology is already commercialized and successfully operating in several locations around the world.
OTEC and SWAC, both proven technologies, can also produce plentiful amounts of fresh drinking water, dramatically decrease carbon emissions, and potentially save customers significant sums in energy costs. With 20 years of rising oil prices and major engineering advances, both technologies are now economically competitive in appropriate markets. More