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According to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), drought is the most common cause of water shortages in developing countries around the world, making it a crucial issue to address today. Water shortages in the Caribbean region have led not only to a decreased water security, but also a decreased level of food security.

With long-term weather patterns in the Caribbean expected to change in the coming years, the frequency and intensity of these droughts may increase accordingly. Because of this, the FAO is insisting that countries and territories in this area reassess and enhance their responsiveness during inclement weather to protect their food sources and prevent nationwide hunger.

These weather patterns started to emerge in recent years, with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands having experienced drought since 2010, culminating with unnaturally dry weather in 2015. This drought has been so severe that even though  the regions received an unprecedented amount of rainfall following the 10th-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded (and the most intense hurricane recorded in 2017), Hurricane Maria, they still face extreme drought.

Before Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, eastern parts of St. Thomas and St. John, and St. Croix, USVI had gone an extended period without rainfall. Combined with the damage suffered from the storm,  86% of Puerto Rico and the USVI are in a water deficit, and a quarter of the country remains without power or clean water after almost an entire year.

Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation, alongside its Chairman and CEO Jeremy Feakins, has committed to addressing this issue by using Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) technology to combat these damaging effects economically and without the use of fossil fuels. The technology harnessed by Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation aims to provide a better way of life for citizens in these drought-stricken areas. OTEC provides the highest quality renewable energy services that are delivered safely and efficiently, are storm-resistant, and operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. One powerful side application of OTEC is the ability to produce large amounts of fresh, clean water for drinking, aquaculture, and agriculture.

Having  received regulatory approval from the U.S. Virgin Islands Public Services Commission, OTE plans to build a commercial grade Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion system on the island of St. Croix, USVI. This plant will also produce potable water for drinking, fish-farming, agriculture, bottling, and more, and will provide a road map for other countries and territories looking to do the same.

Between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, OTE’s technology generates renewable energy by harvesting the heat stored in warm surface ocean water and using that heat to warm liquids with low boiling points to produce vapor. The vapor is then pressurized and is used to turn turbines and generate electricity. Cold deep ocean water then cools the vapor, keeping this closed-loop cycle continuously moving. These systems are ideally suited to tropical and subtropical regions of the world where over 3 billion people live.

For more information on Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation, visit OTECorporation.com.