Leveraging a $10 million investment by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) is in the process of deploying the first commercial tidal energy device in the U.S. off the coast of Maine in Cobscook Bay, part of the Bay of Fundy. The project was recognized by Energy Secretary Steven Chu as the nation’s first commercial, grid-connected tidal energy project. It will provide enough clean, renewable electricity to power 100 homes and is expected to deploy by the end of summer.
Tidal energy is a growing form of clean, renewable energy that can harness energy wherever changing tides move a large volume of water. These areas include many U.S. cities on both coasts where there is naturally a higher demand for electricity. Maine’s Eastport location was chosen as the first commercial, grid-connected project because it is one of the most robust tidal energy resources in the U.S., possibly the world. It is estimated that 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay with the force of 8,000 locomotives, making it also one of the most consistent and predictable energy sources.
“Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources is an important part of President Obama’s energy strategy to create jobs and strengthen U.S. global competitiveness,” says Chu. The project has already injected $14 million into the local economy and supported more than 100 local and supply chain jobs, including several composite manufacturers. “The Eastport tidal energy project represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry, helping create new manufacturing, construction, and operation jobs across the country while diversifying our energy portfolio and reducing pollution,” he says.
Read more about the Cobscook Bay project online.