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UNIDO to support São Tomé and Príncipe's first OTEC development

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Energy Global,

The contract for an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) scoping report with the Lisbon-based engineering consultancy AQUALOGUS Engenharia e Ambiente Lda. This will guide the final design of São Tomé and Príncipe’s floating OTEC platform called the Dominique, the 1.5 MW floating OTEC platform, set to be installed by 2025.

UNIDO to support São Tomé and Príncipe's first OTEC development

OTEC works by using the temperature gradients found in bodies of water, where the surface temperature is significantly warmer than deeper down. With temperature contrasts between surface and deeper waters being much more drastic in tropical areas, this renewable form of energy generation is incredibly useful island communities. There is currently only a small number of OTEC plants globally (USA, Japan, Korea, for example), though this is the first time a floating OTEC platform is being developed in a developing small island state.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has provided its support through a Green Climate Fund (GCF) financed project. A project which has the objective of safeguarding the development of the Dominique.

The results of the ESIA in São Tomé and Príncipe will be disseminated through the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centres (GN-SEC), coordinated by UNIDO, which will help benefit future OTEC developments. The Scoping Report consists of reviewing previous preliminary studies and update data collection, as well as technical papers and existing protocols, standard procedures and quality standards to provide definitions for the full design of the ESIA. The work will also be executed with local experts contributing to significant knowledge and technology transfer.

In June, Global OTEC was awarded approval in principle for the project by Lloyd’s Register (LR), which means Dominique meets the necessary requirements for providing a structural basis for the OTEC technology implementation. This followed on the heels of a certificate of approval for the methodology of installation of a cold-water riser, provided in April, by the Marine Warranty Surveyor company, ABL Group. Dominique’s design is set to overcome the technical challenges faced by OTEC installations in the past, and the ESIA Scoping Report will further safeguard Dominique.

The 160 000 km2 exclusive economic zone around São Tomé and Príncipe is an untapped solar heat battery, which OTEC platforms could harness to supply carbon-free, baseload power. An OTEC plant can generate electricity at a load factor of 95% throughout the year. This ocean energy project will contribute to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan of the island state, aiming at a renewable energy penetration of 70% in the electricity mix by 2030, mainly based on solar photovoltaics and small hydro power. OTEC is now perceived as a means to replace baseload diesel and balance out daily or seasonal fluctuations of other renewable sources.



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