Vast potential for Ocean Thermal Energy in the Caribbean

CAF – The Development Bank of Latin America – has identified the potential use of deep seawater air conditioning (SWAC) systems in the Caribbean. Hotels and resorts are large consumers of electrical energy in Caribbean islands, and conventional air conditioning (A/C) systems account for around 40% of the total energy consumption in such buildings. SWAC uses deep cold seawater to replace the chillers used in conventional A/C systems, greatly reducing the electrical consumption and costs.

CAG_Santo_Domingo_mapCAF has financed, with co-financing from the Agence Française de Development (AFD), a prefeasibility study of SWAC in 8 Caribbean locations in Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas), Jamaica (Kingston, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios), Guadalupe (Basse Terre) and Martinique (Fort-de-France). The results indicate that SWAC is economically viable and competitive against conventional air conditioning in several of the selected sites. The calculated simple pay-back time is between 4 to 6 years for the 4 most attractive sites. The study was carried out by Makai Ocean Engineering Inc. with assistance from Climespace / GDF Suez Subsidiary.

The key outcomes of the study were presented at an international conference held by CAF in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on 13 November 2014, which brought together SWAC and OTEC experts from all around the world (see picture).

CAF_Santo_DomingoBuilding on this prefeasibility study, CAF then hired HINICIO to develop a regional strategy for District Cooling, SWAC and OTEC in Latin America and the Caribbean. After developing specific methodologies for preliminary site evaluations, Hinicio’s team assessed 66 specific locations in 28 Latin American and Caribbean countries, thus generating and extensive information base and a shortlist of the potentially most attractive sites for District Cooling, SWAC and OTEC projects in the region. The most promising locations may become part of a CAF District Cooling Regional Program, which targets the launch of a possible financial instrument or guarantee fund for District Cooling projects in the region. The program may also support the financing of environmental impact assessments, specific pre-feasibility studies, analysis of local cooling demand, analysis of regulatory frameworks, as well as training and capacity building. The program will be formally announced during an international conference to be organised by CAF in autumn 2015 in Panama. For further information, please stay tuned.

ABOUT CAF
CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, is a regional multilateral development agency that promotes a model of sustainable development through credit operations, grants and technical assistance, and provides the financial structuring of projects for public and private sectors in Latin America.

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