“We will use this money to improve our turbines and all of our technology,” said John Ferland, President & Chief Operations Officer for Ocean Renewal Power Company, “ORPC,” of the almost $4 M it was awarded by the Department of Energy. The award was announced today by the office of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) in a press release.
This past spring ORPC responded to a grant request sponsored by the Department of Energy, Water Power Division. It was a very competitive process said Ferland this afternoon.
ORPC develops under water power system technology for tidal energy and river energy projects without a dam said Ferland of the 15 year old company of which he was one of the original employees. Since 2013, the company has been working on a licensed project in Eastport. ORPC understood from that project, global work was its next step.
“Our markets are remote areas that are on diesel fueled microgrids. That’s where electricity is very expensive,” said Ferland, a Maine native. “These markets are interested in reducing diesel and integrating renewable energy into their communities.”
So, ORPC responded to outreach from a small, isolated, rural community in southwest Alaska; Iguigig. It’s located on a river known for its fly-fishing and is accessible by air exclusively. That makes delivering electricity expensive – about twelve times as expensive as Mainers experience said Ferland, a former local newspaper reporter who covered the waterfront. Ferland earned a Master’s Degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island.
The Iguigig project is a two year project that began this summer. Next year, smart grid controls and energy electronics storage will be introduced to this community with a population of 78 people. The company works closely with resources available locally. “We have to use locally available vessels, equipment and personnel,” said Ferland. The result will be a reduction of diesel use by 90%.
ORPC has twenty-eight employees with eighteen in the Portland office, its corporate headquarters. There are offices in Montreal, Dublin and Seattle, Washington.
“Renewable energy is the key to a clean future for our children and grandchildren and Maine has huge potential to lead clean energy innovation – both in wind and tidal power,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) in a press release from her office announcing the award. “I’m thrilled to see Ocean Renewable Power Company receive this grant which will help support Maine’s position as a leader on tidal power and will spur job growth in Maine.” The grant amount is $3,875,859.00.
Please visit the ORPC website for more information: www.orpc.co