Tidal Energy Project To Be Built In Maine
July 30, 2012

Tidal Energy Project “TidGen” To Be First US Tidal Power Project

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The first-ever commercial, grid-tied tidal power project in the United States will be built in the city of Eastport, Maine, representatives from the company building the plant and the Department of Energy announced in a dedication ceremony last Tuesday.

According to Aaron Souppouris of The Verge, the Ocean Renewable Power Company will be installing undersea turbines at Cobscook Bay, an area known for its strong currents.

It is believed that the project, known as the TidGen Power System, will be able to initially generate enough electricity to power between 75 and 100 homes, with plans to eventually expand the project to 1,200 houses and businesses.

"Tidal energy has arrived in America and it just landed right here," Chris Sauer, the head of Ocean Renewable Power, told the approximately 200 people in attendance at the ceremony, according to Boston.com's Erin Ailworth.

"The Eastport tidal energy project represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-grown global industry, helping to create new manufacturing, construction and operation jobs across the country, while diversifying our energy portfolio and reducing pollution," added Energy Secretary Steven Chu, according Joshua S. Hill of the website Clean Technica.

Kyle Stock of The Daily reports that the turbines used as part of the TidGen Power System will be 98 feet long and 16 feet high, and that it will be capable of producing 180 kilowatts of electricity. Once additional turbines are added in 2013, that amount will increase to 5 megawatts, which is enough to provide power to over 1,000 different structures.

Sauer called it a "huge milestone" for the clean energy industry, and Trey Taylor, co-founder of Ocean Renewable's New York-based competitor Verdant Power, told Stock that they were "rooting" for TidGen's success.

"The Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project cost about $21 million, including research and development, design and fabrication of three turbine units, installation, and environmental monitoring," Ailworth said. "The systems capture the energy of the moving water, rotating a turbine that powers a generator."