NY Times on OTEC and SWAC

The New York Times carries an article about OTEC, focusing on Lockheed Martin’s work in Hawaii. There is also a blog piece on the potential for using seawater for air-conditioning (SWAC) in the same location. The piece has the normal sceptic questions: ““just how economical it can be.” and ““[SWAC] doesn’t work for high-rises with individualized air-conditioning units,”

I would argue that SWAC indeed works for high-rises with individual aircon units. Why shouldn’t it work in Honolulu when it works in Stockholm? You just have to get away from the fear of infrastructure. Most of Stockholm, Sweden, has district heating, and has installed a substantial district cooling network based on seawater as well. There are very few individual aircon units to be found in Stockholm, because people are not afraid of investing in infrastructure which makes sense. And SWAC makes a lot of sense. Stockholm isn’t even that hot in the summer, in Hawaii it should be a no-brainer.

With regards to OTEC and price. OTEC is one of the few large scale renewable energy system which can provide base load independent of what the weather is like. Hawaii is in the perfect location for it, it has the engineering skill locally, it is part of the largest economy in the world. The question is: does it have the guts to free itself from oil?

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