OTEC power plants have some negative impacts on the natural environment, but overall they are a relatively clean, non-polluting source of electricity when compared to conventional options such as fossil fuels or nuclear power. Cold water released at the ocean’s surface will release trapped carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, but emissions are only about 4-7% of those from a fossil fuel power plant. Discharging the cold water at the oceans’ surface could change local concentrations of nutrients and dissolved gases. However, this could be minimized by discharging the cold water at depths of greater than 50 m.

What Impact Does OTEC Have on the Enviornment?