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RivGen Power System achieves 10 months of operation, ORPC reports

ORPC reports that its RivGen device has been in operation for 10 months, sending power to the Igiugig, Alaska, community grid.

ORPC recently concluded summer inspection and maintenance of the device, re-deployed it and resumed. The project has achieved over 7 million revolutions of the turbine and surpassed over 8 MWh of power produced during its 10 months of operation.

The RivGen device survived a mid-winter frazil ice occurrence, was subjected to mobile debris without observed negative effects, and had significant amount of ice flow over it from spring break up of Alaska’s largest lake. Monitoring efforts indicated no negative effects to the environment or impedance to or direct interactions with adult sockeye salmon. Lessons learned from this first year of operations are being incorporated into the design of a second RivGen device being assembled for Igiugig.

“ORPC needed to prove the technology, and our village needed to prove that it didn’t impact our fish resources, could survive our harsh environment, and be handled with equipment we have on hand,” said Igiugig Village Council (IVC) President, AlexAnna Salmon. “Together, what we’ve achieved to date is remarkable and worth sharing. With the recent purchase of our battery energy storage system, we are looking at the potential to go diesels off in 2021.”

“The success of Igiugig’s hydrokinetic turbine in the Kvichak River demonstrates MHK technology’s promise to make significant contributions to the renewable energy mix,” commented Renewable Energy Alaska Project Executive Director, Chris Rose.

“With the right support over the next five to ten years, MHK technology can rapidly grow to meet our renewable energy objectives providing power to over 100 million people and, in the process, create hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing, engineering, and marine industry jobs,” said ORPC CEO Stuart Davies. “The last ten years were the decade of solar and wind. With the right incentives in place, the next ten years can be the decade of river and tidal energy, bringing with it manufacturing and marine energy jobs to communities across the country and creating a highly-predictable, baseload renewable energy source that will move the U.S. and the world closer to a 100-percent, renewable energy future.”

The Igiugig-RivGen multi-year project is supported in part by funding to the Village of Igiugig from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Water Power Technology Office and Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, as well as private investment.

ORPC is also working with the communities of False Pass, Alaska, and Eastport, Maine, on smart microgrid projects using tidal energy as a baseload resource.

ORPC is headquartered in Portland, Maine, and has offices in Montreal and Dublin, an operations center and test site co-hosted by Eastport and Lubec, Maine, and a project office in Anchorage, Alaska.