Survey of Energy Resources Interim Update 2009
SER 2007 version >Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Country Notes update
It is reported that in 2006 the Cuban National Energy Program included details of the development of OTEC demonstration plants. The following year investigative studies were carried out by Xenesys (a private Japanese company). In early 2008, Xenesys reported that the company together with the Ministries of Basic Industry, and of Science, Technology and Environment and the University of Matanzas were working together to further the project.
As has been demonstrated, the ocean thermal energy resource of the region is suitable for harnessing. To this end the Japanese company Xenesys reported early in 2008 that it had signed an MOU with Pacific Petroleum Company (PPC) to develop OTEC in French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Later in 2008, a joint venture between Xenesys and PPC was established to carry out the necessary research into the project.
In late 2008, the Indian press reported that a 1 MW floating OTEC plant had been piloted off the coast of Tamil Nadu. The plant was designed in collaboration with Saga University of Japan, and the Japanese company Xenesys is also actively working on the project. The unit, situated 60 km from Tuticorin, is installed on a 68.5 m barge, the Sagar Shakthi, which houses a Rankine Cycle-based power plant.
Although a Dutch study suggested that Bali was a suitable site for an OTEC plant, none has ever resulted. However, in late 2008 a projected 100 MW plant off the coast of Indonesia was publicised. The plan is for hydrogen to be produced in order to power zero-emission vehicles.
See French Polynesia.
Palau depends heavily on fossil-fuel generated electricity and in order to decrease this dependence, a plan for an OTEC plant has once again been mooted. In early 2008 a request was made to the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to finance a feasibility study for a plant to produce both electricity and fresh water.
Although in 1979-1980 Puerto Rico was found to have suitable conditions for harnessing its ocean thermal energy resource, the proposed Punta Tuna 40 MW prototype plant never received funding. However, during 2008 the subject of an OTEC installation was raised again, as part of the country's move away from fossil-fuel generated electricity. In July 2008 it was reported that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority had signed a letter of intent with a developer for a 75 MW unit. A viability study for this plant, to be located in the southeast of the island, has been completed.
United States of America
As part of its plan to use renewable energy to power the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) by 2012, the Laboratory has created a Green Energy Zone whose goal is to develop a range of projects using a variety of renewable energies. One such project is the installation of a 1 MW OTEC plant, which NELHA continues to work towards. In February 2009 and after an administrative setback to the project, NELHA was waiting for the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP). However, possible completion of the scheme is still several years hence.
Another Green Energy Zone project envisages a 50-100 MW offshore OTEC plant. In addition to the ship becoming a centre of excellence, it would be capable of exporting hydrogen to the NELHA station, producing drinking water and supporting surrounding Aqua farms (algae and biodiesel).
It has also been reported that Lockheed Martin and Sea Solar Power are developing plans for OTEC schemes, initially of 10 MW and 25 MW respectively, for installation in Hawaii. The Lockheed Martin project would feed electricity to the electricity grid via submarine cables.
As part of the U.S. Military's requirement to reduce its fossil-fuel consumption, the U.S. Navy has a research project for electricity generation and production of potable water from an OTEC plant at its base on Diego Garcia. Phases I (initial concept) and II (computer modelling) have been completed. Phase III currently involves contractual arrangements regarding terms and price for the design and construction, after which the final design can be drawn up. In early 2009 it was suggested that the plant could be installed during 2011.
See French Polynesia.