FERC seeks input on permit app for 5-MW ORPC Maine tidal energy project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 14 went out for comment on a Dec. 4 application from ORPC Maine LLC for a preliminary permit under which the company would study the feasibility of the Western Passage Tidal Energy Project, to be located in Western Passage, near the City of Eastport in Washington County, Maine.

The sole purpose of a preliminary permit, if issued, is to grant the permit holder priority to file a license application during the three-year permit term.

The proposed project would consist of: 15 double TidGen TGU hydrokinetic tidal devices, each consisting of a 500-kW turbine-generator unit; an anchoring support structure; a mooring system; a 3,900 to 4,200-foot-long submersible cable connecting the turbine-generator units to a shore station; and a 1,900 to 4,600-foot-long, 4.16- to 12.7-kV transmission line connecting the shore station to an existing distribution line. The estimated average annual generation of the Western Passage Project would be 2.6 to 3.53 gigawatt-hours.

The applicant contact is: Christopher R. Sauer, President and CEO, Ocean Renewable Power Co. LLC, 66 Pearl Street, Suite 301, Portland, Maine 04101, phone (207) 772-7707.

The deadline for filing comments, motions to intervene, competing applications (without notices of intent), or notices of intent to file competing applications is 60 days from the issuance of this Jan. 14 notice.

The project is to be located in the Western Passage, a narrow passage in the northern Atlantic Ocean, northeast of the City of Eastport and bounded by the border between the U.S. and Canada. Western Passage is the western conduit for waters from the St. Croix River and Passamaquoddy Bay, connecting with Friar Roads.

ORPC said it will design, build, install and operate a next generation TidGen Power System with a buoyant tension mooring system (BTMS), an advancement in its hydrokinetic power system development. The core component of the TidGen Power System is ORPC’s patented turbine generator unit (TGU), which is the core component of all of ORPC’s power systems, including the TidGen Power System installed in Cobscook Bay, Maine, in 2012.

The TGU utilizes four advanced design cross flow (ADCF) turbines to drive an underwater generator mounted between the turbines on a common driveshaft. The ADCF turbines rotate in the same direction regardless of tidal flow direction; rotational speed of the turbines is directly related to water flow speed. The next generation TidGen system will incorporate a TGU wherein the TGU components (turbines, generator, drive components, etc.) are mounted within a positively buoyant support frame. It will be similar to the TidGen TGU installed in Cobscook Bay. That TGU deployed in 2012 was 98 feet in length, 17 feet high and 17 feet wide and was constructed of steel and composite material. Subsequent installations in Western Passage will feature both single TGU modules and “double” TGU configuration TidGen modules.

Activities conducted during the preliminary permit phase will determine the exact number of single and double modules, however ORPC estimates the project will consist of approximately 15 total TGUs. The nameplate rating of each will be up to 500 kW with the total project output capped at 5 MW.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.