Survey of Energy Resources 2007
OTEC Country Notes
In 1983, as a part of a commitment to develop alternative energy systems, the Government of St. Lucia welcomed the opportunity to be part of an OTEC initiative that included the design and construction of a 10 MW closed cycle floating OTEC demonstration plant off Soufriere. Hydrographic surveys in 1985 confirmed that the 1 000 m contour was less than 3 km from shore, with cold water in the volcanic canyon adjacent to Petit Piton and Gros Piton. This landfall was also close to the electrical grids. The surface temperature of the sea on that part of the west coast never falls below 25o C, reaching 27/28o C in summer.
The UK-designed plant was provided with a fully costed proposal by a merchant bank, which showed that with construction commencing in 1985, and operation from 1989, the OTEC plant would show a cost benefit over oil-fired plant from 1994, the higher capital cost of OTEC being balanced by the 'free fuel', whereas there were ongoing fuel costs for the diesel plant. However, the final decision was to go for a diesel plant, with the whole of the capital cost being funded by another country.