ORPC shows progress on Maine tidal project

Illustration/TidGen turbine generator (Photo: ORPC)

Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) informed the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the progress made on the proposed 7.5MW tidal energy project off Maine, USA.

In its progress report, submitted to FERC on January 4, 2017, ORPC’s subsidiary ORPC Maine said the significant site characterization was conducted as part of a previous FERC preliminary permit, announcing another high-fidelity tidal resource characterization to be conducted in the vicinity of Western Passage, scheduled for early 2017.

It will include measurements of the current velocity and turbulence in Western Passage, and the collected data will be made publicly available, ORPC said.

As reported earlier, FERC issued a preliminary permit to ORPC Maine on July 13, 2016, for the development of the Western Passage Tidal Energy Project that will feature 15 double TidGen TGU hydrokinetic tidal devices, each consisting of a 500kW turbine-generator unit. The project is said to produce an average annual power generation of 2.6 to 3.5GWh.

ORPC Maine also mentioned the funding award in the amount of $5.3 million from the US Department of Energy, received late in August last year, to enhance the performance of its tidal turbine system that will be tested in ORPC’s permitted sites in the Eastport and Lubec region, including a 12-month validation in the Western Passage.

The proposed advanced TidGen power system is based on a design effort performed in 2016, which included validation of an advanced non-linear control system that reduced operational losses from near 20% to less than 1%, according to ORPC Maine, and improved system efficiencies of 35% due to structural and turbine design enhancements.

Furthermore, a driveline test rig has been fabricated with a full driveline section, scheduled for characterization testing in the first quarter of 2017, while an advanced encapsulated generator, which will be utilized for the project, is currently in production, with final acceptance testing scheduled for February 2017, ORPC Maine told FERC.

When it comes to environmental monitoring, ORPC Maine’s goal for the new TidGen system will be to establish quantitative thresholds and monitoring approaches for a next generation tidal MHK system that will be transferable to any MHK site, including those with arrays, the report said.

ORPC Maine informed that this scope of work will be started in January 2017.

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