The deployment of a land-based Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant in South Tarawa, Kiribati, Pacific Islands Region, in 2020/2021, represents a major technical achievement, alongside an international development opportunity. Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) are archipelago nations with small land areas and large oceanic exclusive economic zones. Geographical isolation and large transport distances make economic development a challenge. A lack of affordable and reliable energy in many PSIDS is a development inhibitor. PSIDS are situated within the areas of highest ocean thermal potential in the world. Temperature differences between surface and 1 km depth waters, are in excess of 24°C. Regional geology and tectonics allow access to deeper, colder, waters within few kilometres of many shorelines, and close to market. Seawater Utilization technologies can catalyse varied industrial development (e.g., fresh water/aquaculture/agriculture/mineral salts). The KRISO (Korean Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering)-Government of Kiribati OTEC partnership is already 7 years old (2013–2020) and has involved extensive negotiations, awareness raising programmes, and inclusive collaboration. The project will test OTEC technologies and explore a range development opportunities for Kiribati. The programme could become a role model for the application of the concept of ‘Interconnected Geoscience’.
Part of the book: Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC)