Governor Ige of Hawaii Visits Kumejima
Every five years, Okinawa hosts people of Okinawan decent or relation at the Worldwide Uchinanchu Takiai, a chance for people from around the world to meet Okinawa as it is today, and learn about its history, culture, food, and more. This year, Governor of Hawai’i David Ige led a delegation from Hawai’i to attend the Okinawa Hawaii Cooperation Task Force Meetings and the International Environmental Energy Symposium from the Worldwide Viewpoints of Uchinanchus which took place alongside other Uchinanchu Taikai Events.
Within the busy schedule of their meetings with Okinawan and Japanese officials, the delegation also traveled to Kumejima to visit the OTEC facility and related deep seawater industries. With many similarities between location and culture, both Hawaii and Okinawa host the only fully operational OTEC facilities in the world. Within the framework of the Okinawa Hawaii Cooperation, there have been yearly workshops on Ocean Energy, however, there is growing potential for expanded cooperation amid the growing worldwide momentum in OTEC development.
Governor Ige’s recent visits to Makai Ocean Engineering’s OTEC Plant in Hawaii and his visit to Kumejima highlights the potential of OTEC to help Hawaii and other island communities meet their renewable energy goals. We hope the Governor found the information on ongoing projects here useful as a compliment to the work done at NELHA. Working together, Japan and the US may be able to accelerate the development of OTEC to commercial viability much faster than either location alone. A necessary and promising step towards ensuring locations around the world have access for renewable base-load power.
The Governor’s trip also coincided with Uchinanchu Taikai-related tours with 130 visitors from Hawaii traveling around the island and discovering the history and culture of Kumejima. Governor Ige was kind enough to provide remarks at the local Town Tourism Office which hosted a gathering of local shops, restaurants, and music for the visitors to gather and enjoy. Every year of cooperation highlights ever more similarities between Okinawa and Hawaii.