PORTLAND, Maine — The tidal power generation developer Ocean Renewable Power Co. that made international headlines in 2012 for connecting a Cobscook Bay tidal generator to the grid has started generating power for a remote Alaskan village using a smaller version of the turbine.

The company announced this week that it placed its RivGen turbine generator in the Kvichak River to generate power for the southwestern Alaska village of Igiugig.

It completed testing and design for that smaller turbine unit more than a year ago, in collaboration with the Maine Maritime Academy and the Eastport Port Authority.

The pilot river project has the capacity to produce up to 25 kilowatts of power and the company said the generation method from rivers can help provide power to remote communities near rivers or estuaries.

The company won a $1.5 million award from an Alaska state energy agency in 2012 to develop the project, which is its first test of the turbine designed for rivers.

The company said at the time that it estimated its RivGen system could provide up to 10 percent of the energy needed in rural areas of Alaska. Some areas remote areas in the state rely in part on diesel generators for their power.

The company says there could also be applications for the smaller generator for on- and off-grid coastal locations. ORPC is also exploring tidal power projects in Alaska.

The company posted a video Thursday to YouTube showing the deployment of the river unit on July 20, showing it generating 15 kilowatts of power to the local grid.


Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.