For Immediate Release: November 18, 2008

HONOLULU — Governor Linda Lingle today announced a new energy partnership to develop a 10 megawatt (MW) Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) pilot plant in Hawaii between the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

During the Governor’s official state visit to Taiwan, the ITRI agreed to join in a feasibility study and will collaborate in the initial pilot plant in Hawaii. OTEC agrees to provide clean renewable electricity generated from the difference in temperature between the ocean’s warm surface and its chilly depths. Unlike many other renewable energy technologies, OTEC can provide consistent baseload power.

The ocean temperatures and the subsea terrain make the waters surrounding both Taiwan and Hawaii superior locations for this technology. Lockheed Martin Corporation has developed and studied OTEC technology for over 30 years. Its plans for a 10 MW OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii are already underway.

“As island economies in the Pacific, Taiwan and the State of Hawaii share very similar challenges of overdependence on imported petroleum for their energy needs,” Governor Lingle said. “Taiwan and Hawaii also share a common vision and plan to increase renewable and clean energy generation based on indigenous energy resources.”

Hawaii currently relies on imported fossil fuel for about 94 percent of its primary energy; the balance is from renewable resources.

Taiwan is even more dependent on imported fuels than Hawaii, with less than one percent of its primary supply derived from indigenous renewables. The Bureau of Energy of Taiwan is working to increase conservation and energy efficiency, and to develop renewable energy so that it accounts for 12 percent of Taiwan’s total installed capacity by 2020.

Most OTEC research and development in recent decades has been performed at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), located at Keahole Point, Kona. Huge pipelines bringing cold, deep ocean water to the surface enabled the demonstration of a variety of OTEC components and pilot plants. Mini-OTEC, the first closed-cycle, at-sea OTEC plant to generate net electricity, was deployed in the waters off NELHA in 1979. Lockheed Missiles and Space Company was a partner in that effort as well as subsequent research at NELHA.

This latest agreement with Taiwan complements the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a partnership between the State of Hawaii and the United States Department of Energy which will decisively move the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels and toward a clean energy driven economy that will be a model for other states and regions.


For more information, contact:

Ted Liu
Director, DBEDT
Phone: (808) 586-2355

David Young
DBEDT Communications
Phone: (808) 587-1212

Lenny Klompus
Senior Advisor – Communications
Phone: (808) 586-7708

Russell Pang
Chief of Media Relations
Phone: (808) 586-0043