Photo: Illustration/Two RivGen devices side by side on the shore of Lake Iliamna, near project site on Kvichak River (Courtesy of ORPC)

ORPC launches decarbonization campaign in Chile

Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) has partnered up with local communities and businesses in Chile to accelerate the country’s transition from diesel to renewable energy with its marine energy technology.

Illustration/Two RivGen devices side by side on the shore of Lake Iliamna, near project site on Kvichak River (Courtesy of ORPC)
Illustration/Two RivGen devices side by side on the shore of Lake Iliamna, near project site on Kvichak River (Courtesy of ORPC)

Through its wholly-owned subsidiary, ORPC Chile, the company has launched the ‘Decarbonization from Patagonia to Cape Horn’ initiative, with the support of the US Embassy in Chile, Chilean mayors from nearby municipalities, regional government leaders and other officials.

As a developer of renewable power systems that generate electricity from free-flowing river and tidal currents, ORPC recently signed an agreement for its first project outside North America, with the Municipality of Chile Chico, a gateway community to Patagonia.

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The project will see the installation of ORPC’s RivGen power system there in 2023, the company said earlier.

Since, the company has also signed letters of intent with the governing body of national parks in Chile, CONAF, which oversees Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most famous travel destinations in the world, and with the Tierra del Fuego community of Timaukel.

Sergio Andrade, country director for ORPC Chile, said: “There are multiple areas of Patagonia that can benefit from ORPC’s power system solutions and, as in North America, we are using the knowledge and skills of local contractors to provide the expertise necessary to install in Chilean waters. This impact on the local economy is an important part of the core values that our company brings to the market.”

ORPC’s power systems generates electricity from tidal and river currents without use of dams or impoundments. They create no viewshed issues, operate quietly and require minimal land. Additionally, they provide predictable power to shore, making them an ‘excellent baseload strategies for on-grid and off-grid applications alike’, according to ORPC.

Stuart Davies, ORPC’s CEO, said: “ORPC’s efforts in Chile are part of a growing and insatiable demand internationally for renewable energy, and ORPC is establishing itself as the market leader in remote and rural areas with river and tidal current resources.”

Based in Maine in the United States, ORPC has increased the employment by 28% over the last year, awarded over $500,000 in contracts this summer to Maine-based subcontractors, and is increasing its footprint in Maine via use of its river test site in Millinocket, tidal energy testing and microgrid development in Eastport, while also increasing development and use of its engineering laboratory in Brunswick.

“I applaud ORPC’s example of clean energy technology being developed in Maine that is providing solutions globally, while benefiting the Maine economy,” remarked Dan Burgess, director of the Maine Governor’s Energy Office. “Our administration has led on climate change mitigation strategies, development of clean energy jobs and continued innovation opportunities through agencies such as Maine Technology Institute. Our efforts and the example of ORPC illustrate how Maine is a good place to grow a business whether you serve local markets or export internationally.”

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

The installation of a second device in the Kvichak River, together with an energy storage system and smart microgrid controls this year, are enabling the community to reduce its diesel use by 60% to 90%, ORPC claims.


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