Maine tidal energy project supplies electricity to US grid

September 17th, 2012 by Ocean Renewable Power Company

The TidGen Device is supplying electricity to the US grid (click image to expand - image courtesy of ORPC)

Ocean Renewable Power Company’s (ORPC’s) Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project is supplying electricity to the US power grid according to Bangor Hydro Electric Company.

Gerry Chasse, Bangor Hydro’s President and COO, said “Bangor Hydro is pleased to have played a critical role in building the interconnection to get this energy to the power grid.”

“ORPC’s project is instrumental in developing a technology that will help the state of Maine reach its goals related to fossil fuel dependency,” he said.

Chris Campbell, Executive Director of the Ocean Renewable Energy Group, Canada’s ocean energy trade association said “as we grow an international industry that delivers energy from the perpetual tidal movements, we have looked at the developments in Maine and Atlantic Canada as reinforcing each other.”

Sean O’Neill, President of Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, the US’s ocean energy industry group, said “ORPC’s approach to project development is refreshingly open and direct.”

“This is a company you want as a neighbour, and a competitor you want on your side. The proof is in the water today, and in the smiles and outright pride of the folks in Lubec and Eastport,” he said.

Henry Jeffrey of the UK Energy Research Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland said “ORPC’s new deployment is a very exciting milestone in the development of their product. The company clearly has an innovative technology and has combined this with a thorough and progressive approach to project development.”

Joe Hulm, Head of Consultancy for the UK’s Narec Capital, said “selling power to the grid is a major milestone for investors in this new asset class.”

“I have been aware of ORPC’s technical and project capabilities for over three years and continue to watch with interest,” he said.

“This historic moment elevates the U.S. to the world stage,” said ORPC President and CEO Chris Sauer. “We are now ready to bring our tidal energy power systems and expertise to the international market.”

ORPC's TidGen™ turbine generator unit being readied for installation at Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project site, Maine on 14 August 2012 (click image to expand - image courtesy of ORPC)

In early 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a pilot project license to ORPC for the Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project.

In April 2012, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved the basic terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement for ORPC’s Maine Tidal Energy Project (which includes the Cobscook Bay Project) with Central Maine Power, Bangor Hydro Electric and Maine Public Service.

In July 2012, ORPC dedicated the first TidGen™ turbine generator unit (TGU) at an Eastport ceremony attended by US Dept. of Energy and FERC officials, national press, over 200 Lubec and Eastport community members, industry colleagues from the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan.

In late summer 2012, ORPC completed installation of the first TidGen™ Power System at the Cobscook Bay project site, including the on-shore station on Seward Neck, Lubec.

This first TidGen™ device has a peak output of 180 kilowatts and will generate enough electricity annually to power 25 to 30 homes.

Two additional TidGen™ devices will be installed at ORPC’s Cobscook Bay Project site in the autumn of 2013 and, together, the three-device power system will generate enough energy to power 75 to 100 homes.

Since 2007, ORPC has invested more than $18 million into the Maine economy through spending in 13 of the state’s 16 counties, and has created or retained more than 100 jobs statewide. This includes over $5 million spent in the Lubec and Eastport area alone, which has provided employment for over three dozen contractors, as well as local spending on goods and services.

ORPC, which was established in 2004, is privately-held developer of tidal, river and deep-water ocean current power generation systems and projects.

ORPC’s hub at Eastport and Lubec, Maine has become an internationally recognized center for tidal and river energy development.

The Maine Tidal Energy Project is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Maine Technology Institute, as well as private investors.


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