New Study Could See OTEC in the United States Virgin Islands

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Written By: Emma Websdale

Ocean Thermal Energy (OTE) Corporation and the Senate of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for OTE to conduct a feasibility study on installation of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plants and Seawater Air Conditioning (SWAC) facilities in the USVI.

USVILancaster-based company OTE Corporation has agreed to conduct a study that will determine if the USVI can sustain OTEC plants –a technology utilizing the temperature differences between the ocean’s cold deep water and warm surface water to produce renewable energy and fresh drinking water.

If results of the study are positive for OTEC, USVI’s central government has expressed interest in developing the technology. The OTEC plant would be the first U.S.-based commercial system of its kind.

“If the feasibility study bears out that these clean technologies are well-suited to USVI consistent with preliminary data, their installation here could have a tremendous positive impact in terms of long-term energy-independence and economic development based upon this Territory’s most abundant renewable local resource…the ocean”, says Jeremy Feakins, Executive Chairman for OTE.

According to Ted Johnson, Head of OTEC Programs, the study will investigate a number of options including an onshore and an offshore OTEC plant. Sites of particular interest to OTE include the Salt River location, which, according to Johnson, could support a 14-megawatt power plant.

The new MoU comes on the heels of the development of OTE’s energy-saving-air-conditioning for a $3.5 billion luxury resort in the Bahamas, set to open in December 2014.