OTEC Wave Power Gets More Navy Funding

Lockheed Martin is making waves for the U.S. government with its ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii, and will apparently continue to do so, as the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command recently awarded the mega-contractor a $4.4 million contract modification to advance the plant design.

Under the original Naval Facilities Engineering Command contract, good for $8.1 million and issued in 2009, a Lockheed Martin-led industry team developed “critical system components” and designs for an OTEC pilot plant, intended eventually to provide power for both the shoreline community and the nearby naval base. (Hawaii’s high fossil fuel import costs provide extra incentives for the development of localized renewable power, which we’ve seen recently in the form of solar and wind power.)

OTEC plant

image via Lockheed Martin

OTEC wave power works by leveraging the temperature differential between warmer water at the ocean’s surface and colder water below to produce power. Unlike solar and wind, OTEC offers a steady baseload power source, available day and night, regardless of weather conditions.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.