Figure 2. Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning’s
Current Projected Fixed and Variable Costs.
Customer costs under a seawater air-conditioning
contract are far more stable and predictable than
those associated with conventional air conditioning.
for approximately 80 percent of total customer costs (fig. 2). The customer contract is designed to seek stable, long-term, below-inflation charges to customers using the stable rates of District
Energy St. Paul and District Cooling St.
Paul as the model.
HSWAC has determined that all customers will have first-year savings, and
these savings will increase as the price of
fossil fuel-generated electricity increases.
Source: Ever-Green Energy LLC.
Deep fresh water and seawater air
conditioning can play a critical part in the
nation’s and the world’s requirement for
carbon reduction. The HSWAC project is
the first of many ocean air-conditioning
projects that will serve not only the
islands of the world but the continents
with deep water accessibility and a concentration of air-conditioning load. These
projects are complex, time-consuming,
energy- and financing-intensive, but eminently doable. The Honolulu project has a
remarkable amount of public support.
HSWAC believes that when properly presented, that support may be duplicated in
many places within and outside the U.S.
Developing such a project is intensive,
but it is exciting. It takes time, but is well
worth the effort. Financing is a critical
component, but the financing is achievable. An educated customer base will
embrace the concept and allow a project
to succeed. Deep water air-conditioning
development has just begun.
The next major milestone will be
completion of an environmental impact
statement (EIS). The EIS will provide an
opportunity to demonstrate the environmental benefits of the HSWAC project and
present the company’s plans for mitigating
potential negative impacts. For example,
disturbance of coral habitats during construction will be avoided by using micro-tunneling or horizontal directional drilling
under the coral habitats. The same care
will be taken regarding cultural impacts
by carefully selecting the onshore distribution piping route based on the cultural
impact assessment, a part of the EIS.
A timeline for the permitting process
has been prepared, identifying time-consuming permits and potential permitting
‘bottlenecks.’ Timely approval of all permits
is anticipated, with all required permits
issued by the end of April 2009.
To avoid disturbance of any human
remains or cultural artifacts, HSWAC also
retained a native Hawaiian cultural expert.
This expert conducted a preliminary survey
of cultural features and impacts along a
potential chilled-water distribution route.
William Mahlum is the chief
executive officer of Renewable
Energy Innovations and Honolulu
Seawater Air Conditioning. He has
worked on energy law and financing
for more than 30 years. Mahlum
played a significant role in the founding of
District Energy St. Paul, District Cooling St. Paul
and Ever-Green Energy and is currently executive
vice president and general counsel of Ever-Green
Energy. He can be reached at william.mahlum@
Trudy Sherwood is the market-
ing communications manager for
Ever-Green Energy and District
Energy St. Paul. She has more than
25 years of experience in the energy
industry and is responsible for writ-
ing and producing marketing, sales and promo-
tional materials; advertising; media relations;
and community events for both organizations.
Sherwood is available at trudy.sherwood@
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Customer contracts will have a 25-year
term. Under these contracts, HSWAC will
provide chilled water at a specific location
in the customer buildings at an agreed-on
temperature for the contract term. The
contract will provide for fixed and variable
charges. The fixed charge accounts for
approximately 70 percent of total contract
payments; the variable, inflation-sensitive
component is only 30 percent. This is in
contrast to conventional air conditioning
where the variable component accounts
The Americas: (Int’l + 1) 713-354-6100
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