Representatives from federal and state agencies, businesses, local communities and the University of Maine will gather on Tuesday, Sept. 18, in Trescott, Maine, for a review meeting of the Maine Tidal Power Initiative.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cobscook Community Learning Center. Attendees will have an opportunity to hear updates on UMaine’s ongoing interdisciplinary research in order to gain a basic understanding of the tidal circulation in the Downeast region along with the influence of power removal; learn about different turbine designs; gain an understanding of the biological communities as they might be impacted by tidal power development; and hear about citizen engagement and research of public perceptions of tidal power development.
The meeting comes less than a week after a Sept. 13 announcement from Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Company that electricity was flowing for the first time in North America from a tidal turbine to the power grid. The turbine is located in Cobscook Bay. UMaine contributed research to the company’s project.
The Maine Tidal Power Initiative is a team of engineers and marine scientists from UMaine and Maine Maritime Academy, coordinated by University of Maine Professor of Engineering Michael “Mick” Peterson, who conduct research that informs responsible tidal energy development in the state. The team works with developers, communities and device manufacturers to create a framework for tidal energy projects. That framework is tailored to the local social and ecological conditions of each site, with a focus on sustainability and broad benefits to citizens. The goal is to understand the value of the energy resource related to a tidal project and to determine if a site is commercially viable, locally accepted and environmentally suitable prior to making further investment.
UMaine faculty and student researchers in the fields of engineering, marine biology, oceanography and social science will discuss research areas of turbine design, modeling and testing; resource assessment; marine environment assessment; turbine/resource interaction; and community and social impacts.
Representatives are expected from Congressman Mike Michaud’s office, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Maine Department of Marine Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There will also be representatives from the Passamaquoddy Tribe and the towns of Eastport and Lubec.
Businesses represented include S.W. Cole, Ocean Renewable Power Company, Ryan Beaumont Associates, Alexander’s Mechanical Solutions and Eastport Windjammers.
Go to umaine.edu/mtpi/ for more information about the initiative.
For more information contact Mick Peterson at (207) 409-6872 or Jessica Bloch at (207) 581-3777.