The workshop on Environmental Consequences of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion was convened at Brookhaven National Laboratory January 22-24, 1980. The objective of the workshop was to obtain a direct and independent evaluation of the environmental impact of ocean thermal energy conversion technology on tropical marine systems. The group assembled consisted of nationally and internationally recognized marine scientists and oceanographers interested in the properties and behavior of marine ecosystems or components.
The participants were divided into three panels to consider physical, chemical, and biological oceanographic responses with regard to an operating commercial OTEC activity. The panel reports are reproduced in the appendix.
The panels assess OTEC to be a relatively benign environmental perturbant of marine ecosystems, in the near term with only small scale deployment of a commercial technology. However, there are a number of environmental uncertainties and fundamental questions raised by the participants in regard to large scale development of this technology. The general conclusions and recommendations of the panels are listed in the summary section. A five-year environmental research program plan is also presented in that section.