Frequently Asked Questions - Hawaiian Islands


Will there be any irreversible damage to the sea floor from OTEC?
No. Unlike offshore oilrigs that drill thousands of feet into the subsea floor, an OTEC plant’s links to the ocean floor are only mooring anchors. In places like Hawai‘i, the sea floor is likely comprised of volcanic rock, so the anchors will be driven into the rock at sufficient depth to ensure adequate strength and survivability.
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Could a developed set of islands such as Hawaii be 100 percent energy independent with OTEC plants?
Hawai‘i has excellent operating conditions for OTEC and a variety of attractive site locations. OTI believes that in the long term, Hawai‘i could use up to 16 OTEC power plants that could supply all or a substantial portion of the state’s baseload energy needs.
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What is the OTI plan for an OTEC plant in Hawai‘i?
OTI SparOTEC International is working to develop a 100-megawatt floating OTEC power plant off the Leeward Coast of Oahu, Hawai‘i that would deliver clean, renewable electricity to the Kahe Point transmission yard.
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How will the ingestion of marine life into the spar’s intake pipes be prevented?
The OTEC spar plant has been designed with a series of screens and array of cables to prevent ingestion of small or large marine life.
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What impact does OTEC have on Hawaii’s ocean water quality?

OTI’s moored spar platform is designed to work with, and benefit from, nature; thus making it compatible with the ocean’s thermal gradients. The OTEC process cools the warm surface water and warms the cold deep sea water (each by about 10 degrees), which are returned at a depth appropriate to their temperature, hundreds of feet from the surface. The returned nutrient-rich cold water may increase the food source for pelagic fish at that level.
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What is the visual impact of the moored spar along O‘ahu’s Leeward Coast?
OTI Spar off Kahe PointThe proposed 100-MW spar-designed platform would be located about five miles off Kahe Point. At this distance from shore, the plant’s visual impact would be less than that of a cruise ship on the horizon.
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Would an earthquake affect the plant’s moorings?

A world-renowned mooring systems expert designed the mooring spread for OTI’s floating power plant and spar platform. The installation method of the permanent mooring system has been designed to survive earthquakes and geological stresses.
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What impact would natural disasters such as hurricanes have on OTI’s moored spar power plant?

After thorough analysis, OTI has chosen the highly stable spar design to house its OTEC cycles that generate 25-MW of electricity or greater. U.S. government and industry records have shown that the survivability and performance of spar-designed offshore oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico held up in the severest storm conditions. In addition, OTI’s par design has ample reserve buoyancy systems to cover unusual ocean conditions. Offshore OTEC plants would be located away from the shelf in deep ocean water.
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Why has OTEC International chosen Hawai‘i?
Hawaii’s tropical location and near-shore, deep ocean conditions, coupled with the goals laid out in the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which mandates the state achieve 70% clean energy by 2030, make the state attractive to OTI for commercial development of OTEC projects.
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