Harnessing the SIDS' main natural resource, the ocean, OTEC technology will have its first commercial implementation in São Tomé and Príncipe, Africa, by 2025. Designed by British startup Global OTEC, the project can half diesel costs.
"This is a remarkable change in fortunes from the status quo of expensive and dirty fossil fuel imports. As we have concluded that the first-of-a-kind would produce electricity for a considerably lower unit cost than diesel, we also know it will fall dramatically as we scale up and deliver bigger and more ambitious projects", says Global OTEC Founder and CEO Dan Grech.
Facing several challenges for power generation through fossil fuels, SIDS are now claiming more investment in OTEC. Representatives of Tonga, Dominica, Seychelles, Tuvalu and Barbados made references to Ocean Energy and OTEC in their remarks. Countries such as Bermuda, Palau, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahamas and Grenada also attended the session.
The Minister for Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and Environment of São Tomé and Príncipe, Adelino Rosa Cardoso, highlighted that the project needs additional financial support to supplement what the private sector is contributing.
"Several SIDS are anxiously waiting on Dominique's deployment, that's why my government, along with our private sector partner, Global OTEC, are aggressively engaged with our development partners to see how we can accelerate Dominique's deployment."
As São Tomé and Príncipe is setting the path for SIDS renewable energy transition through the ocean, other tropical islands are already waiting in line to be next to receive OTEC floating platforms.
"We, SIDS, really have no choice in terms of energy, we are running out of land, and we don't have much space for solar. But we have one space that we can't ever run out of, which is our oceans. So it's only enlightening that we can see partnerships that focus on this resource, a resource that can save us but also can save the planet", notes the SIDS DOCK Secretary General Dr. Al Binger.
Ocean energy can play a critical role in changing how SIDS are powered, as other renewables are less respectful to their particularities and needs. In bringing attention to OTEC's potential in driving sustainable development and energy independence for tropical islands, COP28 is contributing towards a cleaner future for over 600 million people.
"We are large ocean states, and it would be, in my mind, an injustice to our people if we refuse to continue to make the case for ocean technology. Whether in the form of wave, or OTEC, we need to make that argument," concludes Dr. Vince Henderson, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business, Trade, and Energy of Dominica.