Global OTEC’s 1.5MW floating OTEC platform named Dominique (Courtesy of Global OTEC)

First OTEC project in São Tomé and Príncipe moves forward

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has taken a step forward in the development of the first floating ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) platform in São Tomé and Príncipe by hiring a Portuguese consultancy AQUALOGUS Engenharia e Ambiente for environmental and social impact assessment.

Global OTEC’s 1.5MW floating OTEC platform named Dominique (Courtesy of Global OTEC)

The contract for an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) scoping report was signed at the beginning of July, with the Lisbon-based engineering consultancy AQUALOGUS Engenharia e Ambiente.

This will guide the final design and requirements of the ESIA, enabling any environmental and social impacts to be identified and addressed, securing the OTEC installation and operations.

The UNIDO support is provided in the context of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)-financed project Building institutional capacity for a renewable energy and energy efficiency investment program for São Tomé and Principe.

The assignment has the objective of safeguarding Dominique, the first-of-a-kind 1.5 MW floating OTEC platform, being developed by UK-based company Global OTEC. This is also the first time a floating OTEC platform is being prepared for deployment in a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Country (LDC).

The learnings from the ESIA in São Tomé and Príncipe will be disseminated through the Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers (GN-SEC), coordinated by UNIDO, benefiting future OTEC projects.

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. 

Martin Lugmayr from UNIDO said: “Under the Blue Ocean economy aspect, ocean energy can reduce tropical island nations’ long-term energy costs, generate employment, reduce trade imbalances from fuel imports and face the challenges arising from climate change. This project is not just important for São Tomé and Príncipe but has high potential for replication across other SIDS.”

Dan Grech, Global OTEC’s founder and CEO, added: “The Global Ocean Energy Alliance (GLOEA) has highlighted 700MW of OTEC projects which are required urgently. Our first-of-a-kind platform de-risks this floating technology for infrastructure investors and will accelerate the technologies rollout through our standardized, modular systems.”

In June 2023, Global OTEC was awarded approval in principle for the project by Lloyd’s Register, which means Dominique meets the necessary requirements for providing a structural basis for the OTEC technology implementation.

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The OTEC platform is expected to be deployed in 2025 in São Tomé and Príncipe, located off the West coast of Africa, in the Gulf of Guinea, and offers the potential to be upscaled to 10MW during the second phase.

The project will contribute towards achieving several UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as undercutting the current levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) by a significant margin enabled by concessionary financing supported by UNIDO, according to Global OTEC.

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