April 24, 2012

ORPC’s tidal turbine prototype on display in Portland. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has determined the contract terms and directed three utilities to negotiate with Ocean Renewable Power Co.(ORPC) to put the company’s tidal power electricity onto the grid this summer. The company’s all-composite tidal turbines will be the first tidal project to be connected to the grid in Maine. The composite technology was developed in partnership with the University of Maine.

“This is the first long-term power purchase agreement for tidal energy in the United States,” said ORPC CEO Chris Sauer . He says the contract will cover a term of 20 years.

ORPC intends to install its first underwater turbine unit this summer in Cobscook Bay off Eastport. The first turbine unit will be capable powering 20 to 25 homes.

ORPC plans to install its full-scale tidal turbine unit at the same location over the next two years powering up more than 1,000 homes by 2016.