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Maine Homes Will Soon Be Powered By Wave Energy

Maine Homes Will Soon Be Powered By Wave Energy

Offshore wind farms aren’t the only way to produce renewable energy in the middle of the ocean. Tidal power capitalizes on the planetary forces that drives millions of waves across the ocean before inevitably crashing on shore. Humans have been harnessing the energy of ocean waves for centuries, only back then, the power was used to grind grain by turning millstones.

Now, Maine will join the handful of states now re-imagining tidal power as a way to produce electricity without pollution. With plenty of viable coastline, Maine’s Public Utilities Commission recently approved 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) between tidal energy developer ORPC. The agreement means that customers of three utilities will soon enjoy electricity generated from ORPC Cobscook Bay site in the Gulf of Maine.

ReCharge reports that deployment of the first phase of ORPC’s Maine Tidal Energy Project began in March with the installation of the bottom support frame for the first grid-connected, commercial TidGen power system at the site, near Seward Neck, Lubec. ORPC expects to have the 150kW device in place by late summer, with first electricity flowing under the PPAs by October.

There are several different ways to use wave power to produce electricity, but the ORPC development doesn’t use dams or impoundments. Instead, the site will use giant turbines that resemble the vertical axis wind turbines you might see on land. The turbines power a central permanent-magnet generator as they turn.

ORPC-tidal-power

Because the power systems are fully submerged underwater, they are completely invisible from the surface, and have no effect on natural water landscapes, boating or shipping.

The company’s wider development plans encompass expansion into nearby tidal energy sites in Western Passage and Kendall Head, which when completed will generate up to 4MW, and represent the first long-term deals for tidal power in the US.

Related Reading:

UK Abandons Plans For Wave Energy Project

Top 10 Species Threatened By Fossil Fuels

Wave Power For Africa

Read more: , , , , , ,

Top image via Thinkstock, bottom image via ORPC

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64 comments

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1:12PM PST on Feb 16, 2013

thank you Bruce H and Marcus for both of info and points in your postings. Looks like something to check in to if done with wisdom

7:39PM PDT on Sep 19, 2012

great

1:37PM PDT on Jun 24, 2012

awesome!

4:19AM PDT on May 18, 2012

Interesting and seems like a good idea.

10:57AM PDT on May 17, 2012

interesting thanks

9:28AM PDT on May 17, 2012

ty

5:26PM PDT on May 16, 2012

This is a pilot project. 4MW isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things. What if we had say, a million 4 MW installations of various kinds. A lot of little things are better than one big one anyhow. Much less disruption than the hundreds of acres of land used for a power plant, plus all the oil used to transport the coal to pollute our air and water.
If we don't start we'll never accomplish anything. There are wave and tidal facilities in place in other locations. US, as usual, is busy arguing theory when practice is needed. I'm not surprised the fossils are throwing up roadblocks.

4:56PM PDT on May 16, 2012

Here we go again. Look at that turbine in the photo-an open lattice structure like that means it will be very easy for marine life to swim in & around it without getting harmed (undersea turbines can generate more power with less speed than land-based ones). That said, I'm sure that the laws regarding placement of these turbines is much more stringent than laws relating to placement of Marinas, off-shore oil rigs & pipelines. Also, why are people only concerned about the impacts on animal life when it comes to renewable energy, yet never once seem to consider the impacts that *other* human activity is already having on marine life-such as the trash ending up in our oceans, toxic spills, overfishing etc etc. As I've already said, the impacts on marine life from rising Ocean Acidification will be much greater than anything these turbines could cause!

1:50PM PDT on May 16, 2012

I wonder if the title should refer to tidal energy rather than wave energy. To capitalise on wave energy the machinery would have to be near the surface. That would make a nasty mess of a yachts hull if it went over the top. Tidal machinery can sit much deeper of course.

12:01PM PDT on May 16, 2012

Awesome finally a state run with people that care.

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