Ocean energy project on cards for North Side

| 18/09/2014

(CNS): A US-based company wants to develop a floating platform off the coast of North Side to supply renewable energy to the Cayman Islands via Ocean Thermal Energy. What would be the first power plant of its kind in the world, if it goes ahead, is proposing to generate 6.25 megawatts of wholesale electric power to CUC via a buried cable under the ocean. OTEC International (OTI) is now seeking input from the public for an environmental impact assessment for the floating ocean power station. Having already met with North Siders, the company said it will be hosting an open house meeting next Tuesday in the district to present its proposal to a wider audience.

Although Cayman has been slow off the mark in exploring alternative energy, under CUC’s licensing agreement the firm is now obligated to supply at least a small part of its power via renewable energy.

In 2013 the firm stated that it had identified two companies it was working with to provide two 5-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plants and one 3MW small scale wind turbine project: New Generation Power (NGP), which proposed to provide 3 megawatts of wind power and 5 megawatts solar, and Electric Power LLC, which plans to provide an additional 5megawatts of solar energy.

A spokesperson for OTI stated this week that CUC has been in discussions with OTEC about energy alternatives since the 90’s. On this latest proposal CUC has provided some guidance and assistance with the firm’s efforts to obtain the permissions from the relevant authorities and has agreed to purchase the energy output from the plant.

“As CUC gets closer to bringing new technologies to the business that may reduce the cost of electricity, International Electric Power, one the two companies chosen to provide solar photovoltaic power plants, is at the permitting stage and recently applied for planning permission for their 5 MW photovoltaic plant in the Bodden Town district,” the firm added.

The ocean thermal project is a longer term proposal, however, and OTI said that in 2011 they and CUC entered into “a term sheet for the development of OTEC as a renewable resource” within the local power provider’s generation portfolio.

“The companies have an agreement in principle on OTI eventually supplying 25 megawatts of wholesale renewable power, starting with this first proposed phase of a 6.25 megawatt floating power platform (FPP). OTI is now beginning the EIA phase as it seeks various government and regulatory licenses and permits,” a spokesperson for the project stated.

An environmental impact assessment has now been initiated for the floating plant, which proposes to use Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, a technology that coverts solar energy stored in tropical oceans to utility-scale power through a process that exploits the large temperature gradient between the water on the surface and that found at depth.

“This is a demonstrated technology that’s been around for more than 30 years,” said OTEC International President Eileen O’Rourke. “OTEC provides consistent, renewable power delivered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

She described the power plant as “a low-profileplatform moored off the north coast of Grand Cayman and connected to the power grid through a buried cable running to a substation on shore".

Before the EIA begins the public can review and comment on the draft Terms of Reference document, which is published on the Department of Environment’s website.

There will also be an Open House session for the public to review and comment on the EIA process on Tuesday 23 September at the North Side Civic Centre at 7:00pm followed by a 7:30pm presentation and question-and-answer period.

Public Comments on the Terms of Reference may be provided through submissions during the open house session, via email to doe@gov.ky, posted to Department of Environment, PO Box 10202, Grand Cayman, KY1-1002, or hand delivered to Department of Environment, Environmental Centre, 580 North Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They are already surveying offshore for the best location off the North Wall. 

    Done deal.

    Get on with it!!

    • Anonymous says:


      This is insane. The first of its kind, means never been done.  Why must we be the testing ground for the world?   Polution, lowered property values and killing of reefs in a delicate ecosystem.

      The "haves" will benefit.. the rest.. will feel the pain..

      • Anonymous says:

        A) It has been done, in Hawaii, for years. Just not commercially feasible. If someone wants to risk their money thats their bussiness.

        B) This is why you have a publci meeting. To say 'we want a performance bond in case the bussiness fails, so there's money to remove the built infrastructure; no more Hyatts'.

        C) – to the first poster – Of course you look around before you build something. Only prudent. Again, this is why tehy're doing an EIA meeting.

      • Anonymous says:

        EXACTLY! And going through CUC none the less. ARRRR!!!!!

        This is yet again another failure. WATCH

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have to say that I am shocked by some of the negative reactions to what is clearly a brilliant idea and the way forward for not only this island but the world.  In an ideal world we will be able to supply the entire world with renewable energy so why not make strides to be an example globally.  I don't know if you guys have realised but Cayman is not a very popular place from international perspectives but we can change that through initiatives such as this.  

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is a typical problem when monopolies are involved, whether that be single interest businesses that supply vital services or various businesses owned by an individual or family. Self interest will always be the elephant in the room as prices are kept artificially high due to a lack of competition or price fixing deals. But that is what insular business practices and legislation provide, no choice and no option. This must stop, people should have the right to choose if they wish to be self sufficient, a supplier to the grid or dependant on the utility company. Legislation should be brought in to stop those who oppose competition and who make the supply and installation of such equipment prohibitively expensive. Self interest and greed must be tackled first.

    If the government were serious about sustainable power generation why not just subsidise on-roof solar panels for any home or business that requires them and make it compulsory that all new builds combine them into their structure. These can then supply the grid by reverse metering and save money for the householder or business at the same time. We don't have either the infrastructure or industry that most larger country's need to supply, so we don't need many different forms of generation to boost capacity. A waste management and clean incineration programme would be helpful and should definitely be one of 3 or 4 considerations. But these facilities need off island expertise, not some local 'businessman' who thinks it's his right to make money at the expense of his countrymen. There are far too many examples of that already.

    Wind farms are not the way forward if you wish to keep indigenous and migratory birds from harm or if you cherish your island landscape, a good nights sleep or public finances. Huge government subsides are paid to landowners and power companies to ensure that places like the UK can meet EU targets. As a consequence, energy costs to consumers are kept artificially high making the utility companies involved huge profits off the backs struggling home and business owners. Noise is most definitely a factor, especially from the commercial size wind farms, ask anyone who lives near one. 

    The UK is moving away from land based farms for these reasons. Apart from the chattering classes and the green lunatics, the people who live near these eye sores just don't like them, period. However, the government are foolishly following even higher subsidies for off shore turbines instead, making the cost of production and supply even more expensive for the consumer.

    Whilst I agree that a more sustainable and less polluting option is needed, Cayman should not be fooled into following the militant green agenda set by the doom mongers. We cannot survive without energy, but it should not come at any price because some left wing tree hugging pressure group wants it. Remember, the wind doesn't blow hard enough every day to move wind turbines and break downs are common, raising the cost of production and leaving a gap in the supply, especially during calm periods. However, the sun always shines enough and the tide always moves, these are the best options, but again, not at any price. 

    The Cayman Islands are unique in many ways, don't spoil the wildlife, land or seascape in the rush for 'green' energy. Solar panels are now cheaper and more efficient than ever, we should insist that government consider their use before huge offshore rigs are placed before us, wherever that may be.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go tot he meeting. Ask them how big your 'big offshore rig' is going to be. Then you can talk. (Or call their 'artists endering' a liar to their face.)

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said 19:11

  4. Anonymous says:

    The same people bitching without thinking first are the first ones who call CUC when power outages occur due to the grids beeing overloaded. News flash – developments these days are bigger and higher, all of them having to be supported by CUC. There WILL be a time when CUC is no longer capable of producing enough electricity for everyone 24/7 unless we are looking for different options!

  5. Anonymous says:

    We have sufficient depths off our shorelines to drive powerful convection circuits 24/7.  Few locales are so fortunate.  Should have been done years ago.  Go go go!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I haven't read all the details as yet and I am planning to attend the meeting on Tuesday and until then, I will keep an open mind and I suggest others do the same. It is incredibly frustrating that as soon as any suggestion is made, people go straight for the negative without doing the proper research. I have spent this summer in a country where many wind turbines have been installed along the coastline and remember what fuzz people made a few years ago when a "test" wind turbine/tower was to be put up in East End. Ugly, noisy, eye sore etc…………I stood right under one of those wind turbines this summer and I can tell you that the AC in my house combined with the ceiling fan makes more noise than those wind turbines. People must realize that Cayman has to find a way to create alternative energy, unless you are prepared to live in a country where planned power outages are going to occur. I had three power outages at my house last week……….What is going to happen once the new Dart builing, the Kempton Hotel and possibly and extension to the Shetty Hospital is hooked up to the grid????

  7. UHUHUH says:

    I for the first time, since hearing so many discussing about alternative [mostly green] methods of producing electrical energy, am very excited by this proposal! Hopefully "it will" come to fruition. I do believe that this is one of the most cost efficient methods in producing electrical power.

    I would also, if I may? Like to make a suggestion! With a solid structural base such as will be provided for this project which appears to be at least a couple of acres square, why not construct "Wind Towers" four each side equidistant, and at the center of the platform another four, forming 9 equally spaced grids. The center grid will remain open!  Attached to these towers, at a practical level above the deck of the platform, there could then be attached, structural steel grids to accommodate hundreds of solar panels.

    These panels will serve three purposes!

    1. By installing these solar panels there could be another 2-3 megawatts of electricity being produced.

     2. In the event the main system has to be shut down in an emergency, or for repairs, the plant will still be generating power.

    3. Those solar panels will provide shade over most of the deck, and will keep the deck of the platform quite  cool even on our hottest days!

    Between the Wind Towers and the Solar Panels I estimate another 4-5 megawatts!


  8. Anonymous says:

    I dont care about the power just think about the fish we could catch around it!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wasn't having Ezzard enough of a punishment for NS, now we have to put up with another over priced power player and elephant in the room?


  10. Anonymous says:

    If it goes ahead it will be some good publiicty for Cayman, plenty of countries like the idea of renewable energy.  I think it will be all over the news if it works.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This smells like YET ANOTHER scam


    • Anonymous says:

      I think you might be living too close to the dump and maybe lost your true sense of smell.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love this idea! Can we put the prison next to it to?

  13. Anonymous says:


    What about all the great ideas for producing energy and getting rid of mount trashmore at the same time a lot of people and a lot of companies spent a hell of a lot of money on this government seems to be doing nothing whatsoever about it

  14. Anonymous says:

    What a time to be alive! I truly hope this turns out to be cost effective and feasible for our beautiful island. A move toward green energy is right on so many levels. 

    • Anonymous says:

      When you're looking at a project like this and your complaint is that it won't save us any money then you are completely missing the point.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Until the population grows this will just cost us lots of money i understand that it is a private company doing this project but in reality it will do nothing to lower peoples bills from CUC it will just let them say look how Green we are being.

    The reality is that until that old diesel plant is running at full force and we need more power changing one machine for another will do nothing for Us

    I believe that the power plant we have now could easily supply power to 100k people without the need to spend more money.

    Its killing the 50k people now that it supplys power to. The burden of running CUC would be easier if spread amongst more people.

    That said with the disaster youcall government I doubt you can grow your population until you stop treating the residents of cayman like shit


    • Anonymous says:

      I think if we had less people we wouldnt need any more power. I think you should leave if you dont like it here

      • Anonymous says:

        …or leave if you or your family for many, many generations have never provided or contributed to the wealth of the cayman islands supplied by foriegners 10-fold in relation to caymanians…sorry, energy is a real problem that you can'rt solve by granting your incompetent buddies to leadership roles or boards…we need real engineers, not proped up fakers with fake degrees and unearnerd certifications…the civil service always has its doors open for people like you…


        …a REAL caymanian that can trace his roots back several generations with several historical and logged contributions to the community… 

        • Anonymous says:

          Without a doubt we have good expats that help build Cayman. We also have REAL greedy Caymanians. If you ask visitors what they like about Cayman I dont think they will say traffic jams and sitting on the beach elbow to elbow. Thats what you will have if you double the population.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Well I do like it here 

        and I would like it more if people like you kept your snide, ignorant  remarks to yourself

        • Anonymous says:

          I thought you said you were treated badly but not bad enough to give up that fat paycheck eh. Thats what you really like!

          • Anonymous says:

            Ah, the true voice of Cayman envy, sad little islander you. Get a decent education, experience and work ethic before spewing your self pitying bile at those who really add the wealth to this country, not suck from it.

            • Anonymous says:

              You just dont get it. The truth comes out for you its all about wealth. By your standards I am probably not rich but I dont care. I like Cayman the way it is. 

  16. Anonymous says:

    How would youike to have this sitting in front of your house? Why don't they anchor it in front of the Ritz Carlton or in Hog Sty Bay?

    • Walker says:

      Pretty bad attitude that is. Folks have had their land used for Wind Power and those machines are not a great site. However the future is upon you and something has to give.

    • Anonymous says:

      You NIMBY minded individual, CUC should charge you a premium just to have the new view.

    • Anonymous says:

      I seems fitting punishment for electing Ezzard.