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Tuesday, August 18, 2015


This has become a biannual event, for four years ago, Guy Toyama organized the second Hawaii-Okinawa Clean Energy Task Force Summit:

Tragically, at the age of 42, Guy passed away just a year after this gathering.

In 2013 the Kona area was home to the U.S.-Japan OTEC Working Group Meeting.  I moderated:

The next two-day session of this group will occur at the King Kamehameha Hotel beginning tomorrow at 9:30AM.  Best as I can tell, the workshop is free and anyone can attend if you happen to be in Kona.  Then on Friday, there is an invitation only dedication of the Makai Ocean Engineering OTEC power plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii.  We will see the 100 kW OTEC facility supplying electricity to the Big Island grid.  Okinawa has a similar operating system on Kumejima.

I will report on the American OTEC project on Saturday.

To be realistic, I don't expect much in terms of mega-buck announcements on future OTEC projects.  Why?  The West Texas Intermediate (WTI, American) price of crude oil today sits at $42/barrel.  The Brent (European) price is $49/barrel.

Thus, the price of oil currently is less than half of what it was during the past four years.  As optimistic as renewable energy developers might be in the media, the fact of the matter is that all natural energy options had difficulty competing when petroleum was $100/barrel.  At $42/barrel, only a severe carbon tax for global warming can shift the competitive equation, and this just won't happen anytime soon.

Worse, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange has oil at $63/barrel in December of 2023.  While they have consistently been wrong in the past, the current expectation is such that oil will remain about half of what it was  a year ago for the next EIGHT YEARS!!!

For those in field, next week the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu hosts the Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summit and Expo.  Click on the program to view the topics and speakers.  There is a heavy Department of Defense influence woven into the effort.  Not sure if "resilience" was highlighted because of the price of oil, but, certainly, an important measure of character is resilience,  and it is imperative for the solar industry to hang in there.  Here are the co-sponsors:

It's not quite free, for corporate sector participants need to pay a $1095 registration fee, dropping to  $595 for local residents.  If you just want to go see the exhibits, the charge is $100.  I should participate, but am too depressed, psychologically and financially.

Typhoon Goni at 115 MPH will strengthen into at least a Category 4, and seems on track to skirt the east side of Taiwan:

Typhoon Atsani is already at 140 MPH and will probably reach Super Typhoon Status soon.

However, at least one computer model shows Atsani making a 90 degree turn and mostly miss Japan:


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