14 June 2023 — Focusing on its renewable energy transition, the government of Grenada held a roundtable discussion on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), under the banner of the Global Ocean Energy Alliance (GLOEA). The meeting occurred in the margins of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)-Caribbean Cooperation for Fostering Energy Transition Investments and Finance, on the 1st of June, in Barbados. The UK-based ocean energy company Global OTEC presented its current projects, highlighting the potential of the Caribbean islands to be powered by the ocean.
Like many other tropical islands, Grenada is almost 100% reliant on imported fossil fuels for electricity generation. This leaves the country vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations that directly affect electricity costs and distribution. OTEC, the ocean energy system that uses the temperature difference between the warm surface and cold deep seawater to generate electricity is a great alternative for a clean future. This innovative technology has the potential to provide renewable energy for communities across the world located near the tropical area of the ocean.
During the roundtable, Global OTEC presented Dominique, a 1.5 Megawatt (MW) floating OTEC facility being readied for deployment in 2025, in the African islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. “The understandable thing about a floating OTEC facility is that it operates like a traditional oil platform, the difference is that we are pumping ocean water, not oil. This is the defining and innovative feature of OTEC technology, as it provides clean, environmentally friendly energy that can supply baseload power, 24/7, all year round”, explained Dan Grech, Global OTEC Founder and CEO.
Honourable Kerryne James, Minister of Climate Resilience, the Environment and Renewable Energy of Grenada mentioned that previous desk studies conducted by the SIDS DOCK Secretariat and its partners show seven Caribbean countries with significant OTEC potential: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Lucia. “A major advantage of OTEC technology is its potential for desalination. This process can provide a sustainable source of fresh water for communities in coastal regions, which we all desperately need as we are now collectively suffering from droughts”, she ended.
The OTEC project being developed by São Tomé and Príncipe government, SIDS DOCK and Global OTEC, is supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Green Climate Fund (GCF)-funded United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Global Network of Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC) projects under the Strategic program to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the electricity sector of São Tomé and Príncipe and Building institutional capacity for a renewable energy and energy efficiency investment programme for São Tomé and Príncipe. Both projects foresee support for the development of innovative renewable energy investment projects, including ocean energy, and assist the country to position itself as a hub for ocean energy technology demonstration. The project will become an important demonstration within the GN-SEC maker space and will benefit SIDS, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Coastal Nations.