ORPC Kicks Off RivGen® Power System Project With Successful Test in Maine

Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) successfully completed tow testing of its RivGen® turbine generator unit (TGU) in Eastport, Maine, in collaboration with Maine Maritime Academy and the Eastport Port Authority. Results indicate the re-designed proprietary river power system has improved reliability and durability and is now ready for its first commercial-scale demonstration planned for this summer in Alaska.

“The collaboration between Maine-based organizations that made this successful test possible illustrates our state’s globally-competitive technical expertise in developing, testing and commercializing ocean energy power systems,” said Chris Sauer, ORPC's President and CEO. “It also highlights the multi-faceted tidal energy supply chain and infrastructure we routinely mobilize from our Eastport operations center including experienced contractors like Capt. Jerry Morrison and Morrison Manufacturing, Eastport Port Authority assets, and waterfront access.”  

"The vessel used to test the RivGen® System, the Energy Tide 2, was recently purchased by Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) from the Eastport Port Authority using funds provided by the Maine Technology Institute, and is vital infrastructure for MMA’s ocean energy initiatives, including marine hydrokinetic research conducted by our faculty and students," said Robert J. Peacock II, Chair of the MMA Board of Trustees. "The RivGen® System test shows how Maine Maritime Academy’s ocean energy expertise is growing and can make a difference to Maine's economy."

"The Eastport Port Authority is proud to have provided ORPC with vessels, personnel, and other assets in support of its tidal energy development efforts since 2007," said Port Authority Executive Director Chris Gardner. "In return, ORPC has been a tremendous addition to the community, and provided the Port with opportunities to broaden our range of expertise to the ocean energy sector."

ORPC will soon ship the RivGen® TGU to the southwestern Alaska village of Igiugig on Lake Iliamna at the mouth of the Kvichak River. There, it will be mated with the system's specially-designed pontoon support structure, power electronics and cabling, forming a complete RivGen® Power System. In partnership with the Igiugig Village Council, the system will be installed in the Kvichak River for several months of operation this summer. This will be the first commercial-scale demonstration of the power system to demonstrate its effectiveness in addressing the issues of high electricity cost, reliance on diesel fueled generators, fossil fuel supply interruption, and environmental liability in remote communities.

The RivGen® Power System is a submersible hydrokinetic system designed for smaller river applications in water depths of 15 feet or more, including those in remote, off-grid or micro-grid communities. The product will provide a new energy source for rural river communities around the globe.

In 2012 ORPC made history by starting operation of the Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project, the first commercial, grid-connected hydrokinetic tidal energy project in North America utilizing the company's proprietary TidGen® Power System. ORPC is currently evaluating system components, identifying enhancements and redesigning the TidGen® System. Environmental data gathered continues to indicate no observed, adverse interaction with the marine environment. Later this year, ORPC will use its licensed site in Cobscook Bay to test a prototype mooring and anchoring system that will comprise a next generation bottom support structure for ORPC’s power systems.

Established in 2004, ORPC is a privately-held world leader in river, tidal and deep-water ocean current power generation systems and projects. ORPC’s hub at Eastport and Lubec, Maine, has become an internationally recognized center for river and tidal energy development. 

The RivGen® Power System Commercialization Project is funded in part by the Denali Commission and its partner the Alaska Energy Authority, the U.S. Department of Energy, and private investors. For more information, visit www.orpc.co.