Hawaii Island, NELHA Regaining OTEC Leadership
For Immediate Release
Contact Bobby Command at 895-2416
Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi congratulated Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) for its push to rekindle the development of ocean thermal energy conversion technology (OTEC) at the Keahole Point facility in Kona.
NELHA’s request for information resulted in four responses, with the Board of Directors selecting OTEC International to build a one-megawatt demonstration plant that will produce electricity using the temperature difference of deep sea and surface waters. The 55-inch pipelines, worth $20 million and completed in 2006, were installed for this purpose.
“We are very pleased that OTEC has returned to its rightful place and will be further advanced right here on the Island of Hawaii,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We’ve been actively engaged in trying to attract OTEC back to Hawaii Island, and we hope this is a step in that direction.”
In September, the County of Hawaii produced and facilitated an Ocean Energy Workshop focused on bringing OTEC developers and ocean scientists together to discuss issues such as finance, environment, technology and implementation. Soon after, NELHA released a request for information (RFI) to see what developers are interested in financing and building the one-megawatt demonstration project.
“We have always believed that NELHA represents a unique asset to the Island and County of Hawaii,” said Kenoi. “We have supported NELHA since its inception in 1974 and I do not think that this opportunity would have emerged so quickly without the great partnership between County of Hawaii and NELHA.”
The county, which was also represented at an OTEC workshop on Kumejima Island, Okinawa last November, plans to continue working with NELHA to co-host ocean energy workshops, with the next one planned for mid 2012.
Mayor Kenoi is also planning to visit Kumejima, which entered into a sister city relationship with Hawaii Island at the September Ocean Energy Workshop. Kumejima officials are keenly interested in partnerships to further ocean energy and ocean science opportunities.
“We share so many similarities with Kumejima,” said Mayor Kenoi. “We are both outlying islands in an isolated region of a much larger country. We once depended on sugar cane as our economic driver but now rely on tourism. We have incredible assets at our door steps, and this positions both of us to be world leaders in aquaculture and OTEC.”