It's official: Maine tidal energy project a first for U.S.

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By: SGN Staff

Two years ago, Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) demonstrated that its tidal energy concept works. Now, the Cobscock Bay Tidal Energy Project is providing power to the grid for the Bangor Hydro Electric Company in Maine – and it's a first.

 

While it's a relatively small project in terms of power produced, it is the first ocean energy project (including offshore wind, wave and tidal) of any kind to feed electricity to a U.S. electric grid.

 

The first ORPC TidGenâ„¢ device peaks at 180 kilowatts and will provide enough energy annually to power 25 to 30 homes. Two more of the devices will be operational in the fall of 2013, and the three of them will be able to provide power to 75 to 100 homes. The company said in an earlier announcement that it plans to expand the project to 1,000 homes and businesses in the future.

 

"Bangor Hydro is pleased to have played a critical role in this achievement by building the interconnection to get this energy to the power grid," said Gerry Chasse, the utility's president and COO. "ORPC's project

is instrumental in developing a technology that will help the state of Maine reach its goals related to fossil fuel dependency."

 

According to an ORPC news release, Henry Jeffrey of the UK Energy Research Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, described the project as a "very exciting milestone for investors in this new asset class."

 

The tidal energy project has received funding from DOE, the Maine Technology Institute and private investors.

 

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