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Spring 1980

Summer 1980

D.C. Voting Rights - A League Victory! (Carol Whitesell)
On Other Legislative Concerns...
Juvenile Justice Study: A Detention Report
Final Call to Council
Council 1980
Who and Why of Council
OTEC Meeting
Legislative Problems?
Voter Service Gears Up

OTEC Meeting

On April 10, 1980, Senator Daniel Inouye held a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The topic of the hearing was the potential of Ocean Thermal Energy Con-version (OTEC) for Hawaii and on the specific regulatory provisions for OTEC in U.S. Senate Bill 2492. Senator Inouye's office requested the LW/Hawaii pre-sent testimony. LWV/Hawaii President Pat Shutt, in giving this testimony, supported continued research and development of OTEC. Pat noted:

OTEC should become one of a mix of natural energy resources necessary to decrease Hawaii's dependence on imported oil. Hawaii is an ideal location for continued research into Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion for two main reasons: (1) deep ocean water is available near the shore; and (2) the year round, mild climate ensures a good temperature difference between the deep, cold water and the warm, surface water. OTEC's potential for continual availability upon demand, as opposed to solar and wind energy facilities, which produce intermittent energy, makes OTEC desirable for direct hook-up with the utilities.

OTEC uses the temperature difference between the warm surface layer of sea water and the colder sub-surface water to power a turbine which generates electricity. OTEC-generated electricity may either be transmitted to onshore power grids by underwater cables or used at sea to produce hydrogen, fresh water, ammonia, or other products.

At the Senate hearing, all 13 witnesses were completely in favor of OTEC for Hawaii and most mentioned it as a power source for the nation and the world.

Dr. John Craven, Marine Programs, University of Hawaii, mentioned a recent study which demonstrated that electricity from OTEC plants constructed with today's technology should be economically competitive with electrical energy generated by nu-clear power or fossil fuel. He also stated that the results from MINI-OTEC (the first and only successful demonstration of the OTEC principle) were far beyond most optimistic expectations.

The next OTEC demonstration plant is planned for off-shore Oahu where there is the most need for electricity. Hawaiian Electric expects to purchase OTEC power within 5 years and feels OTEC could provide between 15% and 25% of the total electric needs in the future. This figure is encouraging compared to the 5% figure quoted in the recently published Hawaii State Energy Functional Plan.

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