Landmark tidal project delivering energy

Ocean Renewable Power Company’s (ORPC’s) Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project is delivering power to the Bangor Hydro Electric Company grid.

This is the first power from any ocean energy project including offshore wind, wave and tidal, to be delivered to an electric utility grid in the United States. ORPC said it is the only ocean energy project, other than one using a dam that delivers power to a utility grid anywhere in North, Central and South America.

“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, Bangor Hydro’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.”

“This first commercial power production in North America is a giant step,” said Chris Campbell, executive director of the Ocean Renewable Energy Group, Canada’s ocean energy trade association. “As we grow an international industry that delivers energy from the perpetual tidal movements, we have looked at the developments in Maine and Atlantic Canada as reinforcing each other.”

In early 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a pilot project license to ORPC for the Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project.

In April, the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved the basic terms of a 20-year power purchase agreement for ORPC’s Maine Tidal Energy Project (which includes the Cobscook Bay Project) with Central Maine Power, Bangor Hydro Electric and Maine Public Service. 

In July, ORPC dedicated the first TidGen turbine generator unit (TGU). In late summer, ORPC completed installation of the first TidGen Power System at the Cobscook Bay project site, including the on-shore station on Seward Neck, Lubec.  

This first unit has a peak output of 180 kW and will generate enough electricity annually to power 25 to 30 homes. Two additional TidGenpdevices will be installed at ORPC’s Cobscook Bay Project site in the fall of 2013 and, together, the three-device power system will generate enough energy to power 75 to 100 homes.