7 Oct 2005

American Samoa advised to explore ocean thermal energy conversion

11:15 am on 7 October 2005

American Samoa's Congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is urging government leaders to seriously consider the benefits of using, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) - to meet the territory's energy needs.

Ocean thermal energy conversion converts solar radiation to electrical power by using the ocean temperature differential at different levels to drive a turbine.

The steep temperature gradient required and close access to deep water from land limits the use of OTEC technology mainly to tropical islands like Hawaii and American Samoa.

The congressman said because thermal energy from the ocean generates the power in this system, the dependence on fossil fuels for electricity will be lessenned.

He said this would shield the territory from rapidly escalating fuel prices .

The congressman said having seen first hand the OTEC project on the Big Island in Hawaii he has always felt that, if it ever became economically feasible, the technology could be very useful in American Samoa.