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  • Maine's Ocean Renewable Power Company awarded over $2million for energy project to help achieve U.S. climate goals

    On November 23, 2015, the U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced $125 million across 41 cutting-edge energy technologies awarded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

    Maine's Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) will recieve $2,248,223 to develop an innovative deployment and retrieval capability that will significantly reduce costs for cross-flow design marine hydrokinetic systems, in which a turbine generates power from tides and/or rivers.

    The turbine blades will employ active pitch control to allow for thrust generation in deployment/retrieval mode and higher efficiency in power generation mode. If successful, this project could reduce the cost of the installation process in which ORPC’s turbine could be placed in the water near shore, self-propel to the deployment location, and hold itself in place on the seafloor through redirected downward thrust.

    On the same day the ORPC grant was announced The Harold Alfond Foundation gave a $3.9 million grant to the University of Maine, formally establishing the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory. The Ocean Engineering Laboratory will build prototypes of coastal and offshore structures, including ships, aquaculture facilities, oil and gas structures, and ocean energy devices under extreme wave, wind and current environments. ORPC will most likely be testing the new devices developed from the DOE grant at UMaine, as they have tested their products there in the past, improving their designs.

    “It’s been very exciting to watch ORPC develop innovative technology to generate sustainable, clean power from tides and rivers—all while creating and saving over a hundred jobs in 14 Maine counties,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.  “As ORPC takes its technology to new markets, this federal investment will help them fine-tune their products so they are better able to compete with other power sources. I’m pleased that I had the opportunity to talk to Secretary Moniz about this great company and am glad that they were chosen for this significant award.”  

    Wave machine at the new lab at UMaine where ORPC will most likely test their innovations.

    Courtesy photo

    “The ARPA-E projects selected today highlight how American ingenuity can spur innovation and generate a wide range of technology options to address our nation’s most pressing energy issues,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As we look beyond COP21, the energy technologies the Department of Energy invests in today will provide the solutions needed to combat climate change and develop a global low-carbon economy in the future.”

    These new projects are funded under ARPA-E’s OPEN 2015 program and come in advance of the COP21 U.N. Climate Negotiations in Paris next week. The announcement was made at D.C. technology incubator 1776 at an event that focused on leveraging America’s top innovators to find technological solutions to combat climate change, enhance security and solve pressing energy challenges around the globe. 

    Open solicitations – also issued in 2009 and 2012 - serve as an open call to scientists and engineers for transformational technologies across the entire scope of ARPA-E’s energy mission. Through both open and focused solicitations, ARPA-E funds innovative technologies that display promise for both technical and commercial impact, but are too early for private-sector investment. The OPEN 2015 projects come from 21 states and encompass 10 technical categories, including transportation, electricity generation and delivery and energy efficiency. 

    The 41 projects selected under OPEN 2015 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation across the full spectrum of energy applications, with approximately 36 percent of the projects led by universities, 39 percent by small businesses, 10 percent by large businesses, 10 percent by national labs, and 5 percent by non-profits.

    To view the complete list of selected OPEN 2015 projects, please visit: