Photo: Two RivGen power system ahead of deployment in Kvichak River in Alaska (Courtesy of ORPC)

ORPC finds Alaskan partner to deploy hydrokinetic device at Upper Cook Inlet

US-based marine energy company ORPC has partnered up with Matanuska-Susitna Borough to test its RivGen hydrokinetic power system at the Upper Cook Inlet in Alaska.

Two RivGen power system ahead of deployment in Kvichak River in Alaska (Courtesy of ORPC)
Two RivGen power system ahead of deployment in Kvichak River in Alaska (Courtesy of ORPC)

The RivGen power system will be deployed at industrial and commercial port facility of Port MacKenzie to power cathodic protection systems which safeguard its underwater assets.

Therese Dolan, Matanuska Susitna’s port director, said: “It is a win for everyone: the State, ORPC, and Port MacKenzie. This energy source is virtually limitless and could cover all the port’s electrical costs, in particular cathodic protection, and provide an energy source for manufacturing in the port district.”

Current cathodic systems at Port MacKenzie protect its assets from the corrosive effects of the saltwater environment, requiring power from the local electrical grid or a diesel power plant to operate.

ORPC power systems harness predictable power from tidal and river currents, and can provide sustainable, baseload electricity needed to power these systems.

ORPC’s Alaska director of development Merrick Jackinsky added: “Cook Inlet’s strong tides have been a driver for tidal power developers for a long time, and ORPC is grateful to be a part of the responsible development of Alaska’s resources.”

If the testing goes well, Port MacKenzie will be the first port in the United States to harness tidal energy for local operations and economic development opportunities.

ORPC will carry out environmental reviews and analyses of Cook Inlet beluga whales as the company initiates the Port MacKenzie project as well as its tidal energy project at East Foreland in Cook Inlet, under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission preliminary permit.

The company also said it had initiated an adaptive management process in consultation with federal and state regulators for assessment of risks and impacts to belugas to inform this work.

To remind, ORPC’s proven RivGen power system in the village of Igiugig in Alaska, is the longest operating hydrokinetic project in the Americas.

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