The U.S. Department of Energy awarded more than $1.3 million to Ocean Renewable Power Company in Portland, Maine to develop two separate projects.
The company will design a standard mooring system for hydrokinetic devices that will be moored below the surface and suspended in the water column in reversing tidal environments. DOE will contribute up to $750,000 for two years.
The company also will received $600,000 to use a new combination of monitoring technologies to collect baseline data on pre-deployment patterns of marine mammal distribution in Cook Inlet, Alaska, with special emphasis on the endangered beluga whale. Monitoring during and after deployment will then occur to determine marine mammal interaction with the company’s tidal turbine.
“Hydropower is our largest source of renewable energy and it can play an even bigger role in the future," Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said.
“Maine is a leader in the development of renewable sources of energy and has set ambitious goals for reducing our dependency on fossil fuels,” said Governor Baldacci. “This federal support will help realize the opportunity we have to move Maine forward on the path to clean, renewable energy production.”
Senator Susan Collins of Maine said: “Maine has significant potential to develop hydroelectric energy resources but investment is critical. This funding is welcome recognition of the innovation that Ocean Renewable Power Company is pursuing to help achieve the goal of energy independence by creating clean electricity.”
Marine- and hydrokinetic-generated power from the world's oceans could grow to provide 2.7 gigawatts (GW) of power generation capacity by 2015, up from just 264 megawatts (MW) in 2008, according to a Pike Research report.
In 2007, Ocean Renewable Power received preliminary permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to develop tidal energy projects in Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay in Alaska.