Hawaii, a leader in renewable energy out of necessity, just opened their first Ocean Thermal Conversion Energy Power plant. It is a test plant that will power 120 homes. Much bigger plants are coming, with the potential to power 100,000 homes. OTEC power, unlike other forms of renewable energy is available 24/7. Essentially, it is solar power, and it relies on the sun warming the surface of the ocean.
OTEC builder Makai says large-scale OTEC power plants will be offshore, thus not competing for land, and twelve such plants would power all of Hawaii. Further, enough OTEC power exists worldwide to power 4X of the world’s electrical needs. Plus, environmental risks are very low.
OTEC is a process that produces electricity by using the temperature difference between the warm ocean surface waters of tropical areas and the much colder deep water below. The plant that Hawaii has just installed pumps water from the warm shoreline as well as from the cold deeper ocean through a heat exchanger. The resulting steam drives a turbine and produce electricity at an onshore power station.