9 Mar 2012

Marshalls briefed about ocean thermal energy conversion

12:45 pm on 9 March 2012

Japanese energy experts have briefed the Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak and his Cabinet on the opportunity for building an ocean thermal energy conversion, or OTEC, plant in the Marshall Islands.

It would be the first commercial application of the technology in the region.

The Japanese group, with the Marshalls' government, is to conduct a site feasibility study for an OTEC power plant at Kwajalein Atoll.

The Marshalls is the most suitable location in the world for an OTEC plant.

This is because of the combination of power demand at Ebeye Island and the neighbouring US Army missile testing base, the short distance from the shoreline to the deep ocean, and the year around stability of ocean temperature differences from surface to 1,000 metres depth.

A Marshall Islands climate change advisor Steve Why said because of the push to shift from fossil fuel power generation to renewable energy, the OTEC proposal offers a win-win opportunity for both the Marshall Islands and the US Army.

OTEC uses the difference in temperatures between the surface and ocean water at a depth of 1,000 metres to produce power.