The Governor’s Energy Office has named Kleinschmidt Associates, in partnership with hydrokinetic developer Ocean Renewable Power Co. and engineering firm TRC, to update Maine’s inventory of undeveloped hydropower potential.
As part of updating the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, the energy office had requested proposals to perform a current inventory of hydro resources. The work is to include recommendations for regulatory modifications that could expand economic opportunities through additional hydropower production consistent with state environmental objectives.
Energy Office Director Patrick Woodcock said Kleinschmidt‘s “collective experience in all aspects of the hydropower industry in Maine will provide the state with unparalleled expertise on Maine hydropower and hydrokinetic data, policy and regulations. And they are partnering with Ocean Renewable Power Co. (ORPC), experts in marine hydrokinetic technology, and TRC, with decades of experience in hydropower regulatory and policy issues.”
The inventory is to identify potential sites for small and micro-hydropower projects, untapped potential at existing hydropower sites, and hydrokinetic resources using energy produced from river flows, waves, tides and currents. The initial assessment is to undergo further analysis to identify the most feasible sites for development.
The Kleinschmidt team also is to evaluate the regulatory environment, identify obstacles to new investment, and provide recommendations to encourage further development. The study will be included in the state’s Comprehensive Energy Plan, to be released in January.
Woodcock said additional technologies have been developed since the last inventory in the 1990s, when the vision was to construct significant new dams. The expansion of small-scale facilities, use of run-of-river technologies, retrofitting of non-generating dams with hydropower equipment, and increased efficiency of existing projects now are seen as ways to expand clean energy production.
Kleinschmidt was founded in Maine nearly 50 years ago, with hydropower as a core element of its business. ORPC also is based in Maine and currently is operating the 300-kW Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy project in the Bay of Fundy in Maine. TRC has offices in Augusta, Ellsworth and South Portland, Maine, providing environmental and engineering services to hydropower and other utility businesses.