In theory, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) could meet all of today's electricity needs. But does the world need OTEC? Solar and wind energy have long track records and are already fast-growing industries. However, as OTEC supporters are quick to point out, those sources have a major limitation: so far, there's no easy or cheap way to store the energy. Solar energy only works during the day and when it's not too cloudy. Wind is intermittent and the turbines spin efficiently only when the weather cooperates.

"Great hope has been placed in military-controlled small islands, because the Department of Defense of the United States is richer than most countries, and they have discretion to do things that others can't." -- Gerard Nihous, Ocean Engineer, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute