This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.
Maine Unveils Commercial Tidal Energy Project
The Cobscook Bay pilot project will provide enough renewable electricity to power between 75 and 100 homes.
The Energy Department on July 24 recognized the first commercial, grid-connected U.S. tidal energy project. Leveraging a $10 million investment from the Energy Department, Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) will deploy its first tidal energy device into Cobscook Bay near Eastport, Maine, this summer.
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, as 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay daily. Initially, the Cobscook Bay pilot project will provide enough renewable electricity to power between 75 and 100 homes. In addition to this Energy Department-supported pilot, ORPC plans to expand its Maine project and install additional tidal energy devices to power more than 1,000 Maine homes and businesses.
Earlier this year, the Energy Department released a nationwide tidal energy resource assessment, identifying about 250 terawatt hours of annual electric generation potential from tidal currents. Tidal power represents a major opportunity for new water power development in the United States, especially along the East Coast, as well as in Alaska and Hawaii. See the Energy Department press release, the Water Power Program website, and the tidal energy resource assessment report.