Maine deploys grid-connected tidal energy project


U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu recognized on Tuesday the nation’s first commercial, grid-connected tidal energy project off the coast of Eastport, Maine.

Leveraging a $10 million grant from the Energy Department, Ocean Renewable Power Company will deploy its first commercial tidal energy device into Cobscook Bay this summer.

The project represents the first tidal energy project in the United States with long-term contracts to sell electricity.

Tidal energy is a clean, renewable resource that can be harnessed wherever changing tides move a significant volume of water – including off the coasts of many U.S. cities where there is high electricity demand. Near Maine, the Bay of Fundy is one of the most robust tidal energy resources in the world. Each day, 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay with the force of 8,000 locomotives and tidal ranges of up to 50 feet. Tides can also be forecast accurately, making tidal energy one of the most reliable and predictable renewable resources available.

Click here for the full announcement.

Click here for a report on the project in the November 2010 issue of Soundings.