NOAA Launches Website on Emerging Marine Renewable Energy

February 10, 2011

January (2011) temperature "statewide ranks" map.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) website.

Link to website (Credit: NOAA)

In response to resurging interest in renewable energy production, NOAA has launched a website containing legal and licensing information for industries interested in developing Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) capability in the United States.

OTEC produces renewable energy by using temperature differences between deep cold water and warm surface water to power a turbine. The electricity generated from an off-shore facility is sent to land by power cable. The technology is considered particularly viable in tropical areas with year-round warm surface water. In addition to generating electricity, OTEC technology has the potential to produce other products such as potable water, hydrogen and ammonia. Surplus cold water from OTEC can also be used for aquaculture and air conditioning systems.

The new website contains information on OTEC technology and potential environmental impacts and on NOAA’s licensing authority under the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Act of 1980. It also contains information on workshops with federal, state, academic, non-government and private sector interests to explore the technological and environmental issues of commercial-scale OTEC systems.

There are currently no commercial OTEC facilities and to date, NOAA has not received any license applications. However, federal agencies and private industry are conducting and pursuing OTEC-related demonstration and research projects. The U.S. Department of Energy may authorize demonstration projects after consulting with NOAA.

Interested companies must submit an application for a license through NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

To access the website, visit: http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/programs/otec.html.

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