The ocean is a huge storehouse of energy—the sun heats the surface, wind creates waves, and tidal forces exerted by the sun and the moon create tidal fluxes. Most technologies to tap this huge resource are still in the developmental stages.
Thermal Energy (heat): Two major ocean thermal technologies are of interest in Hawaii: seawater air conditioning and ocean thermal energy conversion. Both rely on the fact that the deep ocean is significantly colder than the tropical surface—nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit colder. In Hawaii, this deep, cold water is comparatively close to shore in many locations.
Marine Hydrokinetic Energy (motion): Marine hydrokinetics (MHK) refers to technologies which tap the kinetic energy of the ocean—the energy carried by moving water. Most typically, the ocean’s motion is converted to useable electricity by a device which either spins as the water flows past it or bobs up and down in the water.
|Number of berths expected at Kaneohe WETS||3||Projected Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for commercial ocean energy||23¢-25¢/kWh|
|Energy potential of trade wind waves in Hawaiian waters||10-15 kW/meter||Temperature of cold, deep seawater at NELHA||6°C (43°F)|
|Number of operating hours achieved by OPT PowerBuoy PB40 at Kaneohe Bay||>5,600 hours||Temperature range of warm surface seawater at NELHA||24° – 28.5°C (75° – 83°F)|
For additional information:
- Hawaii State Energy Office Publications (Hydro/Ocean tab)
- U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Program
- Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority
- Pacific Integrated Ocean Observing System
For information and data on renewable energy and energy efficiency in Hawaii, download the Hawaii Energy Facts & Figures, May 2017 Edition.
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