Wave, OTEC to help Hawaii reach 100% RE goal

Azura WEC (Photo: US DoE)

Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) and wave energy are two of the renewable energy resources poised to aid Hawaii in reaching its 100% renewable energy goal by 2045.

The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute conducts research of state and national importance to develop, test and evaluate novel renewable energy technologies. The organization is active in developing wave energy projects in Hawaii, Pacific Business News reports, mainly located off Marine Corps Base in the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

It is the location of Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay which saw the installation of Northwest Energy Innovations’ (NWEI) Azura wave energy device last year.

WETS site is expected to welcome two additional wave energy devices in 2016 – Fred. Olsen’s Lifesaver which will be tested and evaluated for approximately six months at WETS deep water test berths, and Columbia Power Technologies’ StingRAY wave energy device.

In addition, Hawaii saw the installation and grid-connection of OTEC power plant by Makai Ocean Enegineering last year. It is located at Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) with the generation capacity of 100 kW – enough to power 120 Hawaiian households.

Also, Hawaii and Okinawa have teamed up for the potential joint development of a 1 MW OTEC system in Hawaii through the Japan-US clean energy agreement.

On August 19, 2015, Makai, NELHA and a consortium of Japanese companies signed a memorandum of understanding with the intention of jointly constructing a 1 MW OTEC plant at NELHA.

“Those projects are expanding in their size and capacity. We are eagerly watching to see if wave energy can be scalable. We will learn a lot about this in 2016-17,” Mark Glick, Administrator for the State Energy Office, told Pacific Business News.

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