Article and photos by Ramona du Houx

August 30, 2013

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced that Maine’s tidal power company, ORPC, is will get $5 million in federal grants to help improve its technology.

The Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) in Portland has won two Department of Energy (DOE) grants for a total of nearly $5 million to help them further develop their tidal power technology.

“This was a highly competitive grant program. The fact that ORPC won 2 of the 17 awards is an indication of how successful their technology is. This funding will help Maine continue to be a leader in developing new sources of clean energy that create good paying jobs right here at home,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

The Maine Asset Technology Fund originally gave ORPC their fist research and development grants. ORPC then worked closely with the University of Maine’s composite center to develop their first tidal power turbine.Maine Technology Institute (MTI) funds MATF voter back grants that were started under the Baldacci administration.

0a0e2dba4b52224f-woceanrenewable-300x148“We’ve proven the technology but this federal investment will give us the boost we need to take it to the next level. And it’s going to mean more jobs and investment in Maine,” said Chris Sauer, President of ORPC.

ORPC became the first company to connect tidal power generators to the electric grid with a project currently underway near Eastport.

One of the DOE grants for $1.9 million will help ORPC develop new ways to monitor tidal current and develop new ways to get more energy out of that current. The other grant for $3 million will help them study the components that convert water currents into electricity and develop more efficient equipment that can be used in tidal, wave and river current generators.