Tidal Energy Celebrated in Maine

VIPs were given a tour of the mooring site in Cobscook Bay to view ORPC's Beta Power System. This image shows the turbine about to be lowered into the water. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard.

August 24, 2010: Maine Governor John Baldacci and the Coast Guard commander in northern New England recently gathered in Eastport to celebrate the Ocean Renewable Power Company’s (ORPC) successful harnessing of tidal energy in Maine’s Cobscook Bay. ORPC recently announced that its 60-kilowatt Beta Power System turbine generator was able to produce grid-compatible electricity generated by tidal currents in Cobscook Bay. The same unit will be used for a 60-day demonstration project in which it will produce power for the Coast Guard’s Eastport Station.

Chart of test area.

“The Coast Guard in Maine encounters the power of the elements on a daily basis. Capturing some of these sustainable forces to help achieve our energy needs is a prudent and responsible thing to do. We are extremely pleased to be a part of ORPC’s exciting initiative to harness tidal energy at Station Eastport,” said Capt. James McPherson, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector in Northern New England.

ORPC plans to install a 150-kilowatt system next year in the waters off Eastport, Maine, to be connected to the Bangor Hydro grid.

Turbine Generator Unit

The ORPC system’s core component, the proprietary Turbine Generator Unit (TGU) has been deployed below the company’s research and testing vessel, the Energy Tide 2, for the last several months. According to ORPC, performance test results show that the TGU’s electrical output meets or exceeds expectations for the full range of current velocities encountered. ORPC says that it “will use the data obtained from the Beta Power System to fine-tune the design of its commercial TidGen Power System,” planned for installation in Eastport in late 2011.

Turbine Generator Unit/Elevations

The TidGen Power System is scheduled to be connected to the New England grid through the Bangor Hydro Electric Company system, and is expected to generate enough electricity to power 50 to 75 homes.

“Proving the efficacy of the Beta Power System and its ability to generate grid-compatible power day in and day out is a huge milestone for America’s ocean energy industry,” said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC. “It reaffirms the limitless opportunities to advance the nation’s renewable energy agenda and ensure a more sustainable future.” ORPC has called the waters off Eastport “the Kitty Hawk of tidal energy technology.”

Capt. James McPherson, USCG; John Ferland, ORPC; Congressman Mike Michaud; Senator Kevin Raye; Governor John Baldacci; and Chris Sauer, ORPC, aboard the Energy Tide 2, from which ORPC's Beta Power System is deployed. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard.

According to ORPC, tidal energy has the potential to be a billion-dollar industry in Maine within the next 7 to 10 years, creating hundreds of jobs.

ORPC is one of a few companies in the world to have generated electricity from ocean currents without using dams or impoundments. The company holds FERC preliminary permits and is in the process of obtaining FERC pilot project licenses for tidal energy sites in Maine and Alaska, which have been designated world-class tidal resources by the World Energy Congress. ORPC’s work is funded in part by Maine Technology Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Related Videos:


Energy Tide 2 Launch Ceremony: This was the Launch Ceremony held on March 2, 2010 in Eastport, ME. We had over 200 people at the event and many people told us it was the biggest gathering they had seen in Eastport! Representatives from Maine’s congressional delegation as well as state government attended. Even former Governor Angus King was in attendance.


Beta TGU 2010 – August 10, 2010


Energy Tide 2 Tidal Generator First Startup: This video was the first startup of out Beta TGU. It was great to see it start turning and to produce electricity for the first time!