16 May 2023 – Leaders from 20 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) announced that they approved the Global Ocean Energy Alliance (GLOEA), highlighting the implementation of the 1.5MW Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) platform being developed for deployment in São Tomé and Príncipe, in partnership with Global OTEC, as the basis for the implementation of an Ocean Energy Programme in the Pacific. The announcement was made during the Fifth Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers’ Meeting (PRETMM), hosted by the Government of Vanuatu, in Port Vila, from 8-12 May 2023, under the theme of “Accelerating Decarbonisation in the Blue Pacific”.
“The urgency of the climate crisis demands that we accelerate our collective action whilst recognising 64% of Pacific people still lack access to 24-hour electricity and more than 50% of our population live in outer island environments. Access to regular power, access to safe and sustainable shipping and decarbonisation must be our collective goals,” Dr. Stuart Minchin, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), noted in his remarks. The united drive to implement ocean energy technologies as a major part of the energy mix in the Pacific was led by the SPC, the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE), SIDS DOCK, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers (GN-SEC).
A major outcome of the meeting was an agreement to develop an ocean readiness programme preparing the PICTs for future ocean renewable energy technologies. This measure aims to mitigate barriers and brings latest innovations to the Pacific. Martin Lugmayr, from UNIDO, noted that projections suggest that by 2030 the ocean economy could reach over USD 3 trillion and create 40 million jobs. “Ocean energy can address the blue and green economy aspirations of SIDS simultaneously, and can significantly contribute to climate resilience”, he said during his presentation on the GLOEA Proposal for the Pacific, spotlighting Global OTEC’s platform called Dominique.
Dominique is a First-Of-A-Kind 1.5 MW floating OTEC platform being developed by the UK-based company and is supported by SIDS DOCK, UNIDO and the GN-SEC under a Global Environment Facility/Green Climate Fund (GEF/GCF) funded project. It is expected to be deployed in 2025 in São Tomé and Príncipe, located off the West coast of Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea. Under the GLOEA, São Tomé and Príncipe, a pioneering SIDS, took the lead in demonstrating the commercialisation of OTEC in SIDS, which is proving to be the shining example to the rest of the world of how diesel fuel imports can be replaced with clean energy from the ocean.
In welcoming the announcement from the Pacific leaders, Dan Grech, Global OTEC Founder and CEO, said that his experience working with the SIDS and the PRETMM outcomes show that “islands continue to ‘walk the walk’ in supporting pioneering ocean energy projects and the GLOEA is another example of this. It is born out of their absolute necessity for energy security and access to affordable and clean power generation, which conventional renewables are failing to scale.”
The establishment and launch of GLOEA began at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP26), on 11 November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. This initiative is focused on accelerating the development of ocean energy technologies and projects through partnerships that mobilise technical, human and financial resources. The GLOEA is intended to be a bridge between industry and research players who need to test new solutions in various climates and contexts, and the interest of SIDS and coastal countries to get access to technology and expertise, as well as with investors, project developers and government for the implementation of projects. Currently, the GLOEA is supporting the development of a 1,5 MW OTEC pilot facility in São Tomé and Príncipe.
About Global OTEC
Global OTEC is a UK-based company set up to accelerate the commercialisation of a floating OTEC technology to develop zero-carbon, baseload, clean energy sources that achieve maximum impact in empowering Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Coastal Nations with energy security whilst helping the Earth reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eventually eliminate total dependence on fossil fuel.