“Maine Developer to Move Forward with In-Water Testing of Current Energy Converter”


“Today, 09MAR21, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) announced the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) of Portland, Maine, will receive $3,615,260 to build, test, and operate a modular current energy converter (CEC).

“Through the modular approach, each turbine-generator unit is installed as a standalone unit with the option for attaching adjacent modules to form horizontal or vertical arrays. This approach will allow future systems to be designed to specific river geometries and other river constraints. The ultimate project goal is to expand the number and geographic diversity of locations where CECs are commercially viable, while simultaneously advancing the state of CEC technologies.

“The project was originally awarded $349,994 through a competitive funding opportunity WPTO announced in 2019 under the topic area “Modular Technologies for River Current Energy Converter Applications.” The goal of the topic area was to develop and test modular CEC systems that can be efficiently deployed and retrieved without the need for significant port or on-site infrastructure and specialized vessels.

“ORPC was one of three companies selected to develop preliminary designs in Budget Period 1 and, after a thorough technical review performed as part of a competitive Down-Select, ORPC was selected for a subsequent Budget Period for additional funding to fully develop and test their system at a test location in Maine, or at an alternate site determined during site evaluation and commercialization efforts. As part of the Budget Period 2 scope, ORPC will be eligible to request up to $400,000 in technical support from a National Laboratory to assist with design, verification testing, and modeling.

Want to learn more about the potential of river current energy technologies? Check out WPTO’s 2019-2020 Accomplishments report to learn about another ORPC project helping an Alaskan village reduce its dependency on diesel fuel.

“Interested in receiving periodic updates from WPTO? Sign up for the office’s Water Wire newsletter and/or new marine energy listserv.


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