ORPC Selects Maine Company to Fabricate Second Commercial Underwater Power System
Downeast Machine and Engineering team members at the company’s Leeds, Maine, fabrication facility with ORPC engineer during building of structural components for ORPC’s first commercial RivGen device in December 2018.
PORTLAND, ME—ORPC, Inc., a global energy solutions company with expertise in microgrid development and marine renewable energy systems that generate power from free-flowing rivers and tidal currents, has selected Downeast Machine & Engineering of Mechanic Falls, Maine, to build the structural components for its second commercial RivGen Power System device.
ORPC will install the device in Igiugig, Alaska, in 2021, as part of a multi-year project supported in part by funding to the Village of Igiugig from the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technology Office and Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, as well as private investment.
ORPC installed the first RivGen device, also constructed and assembled by Downeast Machine, in the local Kvichak River in 2019. When completed, the Igiugig project will feature two RivGen devices, smart grid controls and electronics, and an energy storage system, resulting in baseload power supplied from renewable river energy and a 90 percent reduction in the community’s use of diesel fuel.
“The Igiugig-ORPC partnership is the model marine renewable energy project in the United States today and exemplifies a long-term and predictable renewable energy solution available to remote communities around the world,” says ORPC CEO Stuart Davies.
“We are very excited to, again, have the opportunity to work with ORPC in the manufacture, fabrication, and assembly of a second RivGen device,” said Michael Bertrand, Project Manager for Downeast Machine. “These large-scale, fabricated assemblies are uniquely suited to our highly skilled fabricators and industrial-sized fabrication facility.”
ORPC is Maine-based, with headquarters in Portland, an operations center in Eastport, and an engineering laboratory in Brunswick, where the Downeast Machine team will assist ORPC engineers with final system integration of the RivGen device. ORPC has a project office in Alaska, operates subsidiaries in Montreal (ORPC Canada) and Dublin (ORPC Ireland), and is working with project partners in Patagonia, Chile.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.