Portland hydro-energy company gets $4 million grant to harness river power


Portland’s Ocean Renewable Power Co. won a nearly $4 million federal grant to advance its technology to harness power from rivers.

The Department of Energy is awarding ORPC a grant of $3,875,859, according to a statement from U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who applauded the award as a means to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

John Ferland, ORPC president, said the award would allow the company to develop more product innovation, and enter new markets “with an economically feasible, no-carbon, renewable energy solution.”

The money will be used to modify ORPC’s turbine design and equipment to advance hydrokinetic infrastructure building, making it more useful in remote, diverse markets and communities. The new technology is also expected to help utilize tidal power and water flow to create renewable, carbon-free electricity.

ORPC was the first company in the U.S. to deliver electricity to the grid from tidal turbines – a 2012 demonstration project it conducted in Cobscook Bay. It also tested its river turbine technology in a remote Alaskan village, ultimately providing 30 percent of the village’s power.

Last spring, the company celebrated the launch of its marine renewable power system at Brunswick Landing, where its RivGen system was built.

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