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Water Power

Ocean Power System Grid Integration

Company Name: Ocean Renewable Power Company, LLC
Program Office: Water Power
Location: Portland, ME
Email: Genetta McLean, Grants & Licensing Manager;
Award Amount: $300,000
Project Term: 12 months
Project Status: Active
Participating Lab(s): National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Ocean and river currents are a reliable source of clean power, but tapping into them at scale and connecting them to existing grids requires continued advances in engineering. Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) focuses on hydrokinetic power system technology and project solutions, including an in-development system that would allow remote communities to utilize these energy sources.

The company's turbine generating unit was designed, tested and validated in full-scale, open-water applications. Further, it has successfully connected hydrokinetic turbine and generator sets to grids at the micro and macro level. But while this test work has proven the overall system architecture, the testing to date has not fully investigated the interactions between the grid, and the control and inverter electronics and the impact that these interactions may have on electrical and mechanical stressors on the balance of the plant. Additionally, utilization of the energy from the hydrokinetic device by an isolated micro grid with the end goal of reducing diesel fuel consumption requires optimization of control schemes that interface well with existing power diesel generation equipment.

Through the SBV Pilot, ORPC will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on design assessment and simulations, and will perform dynamometer testing of their marine and hydrokinetics generator systems at the lab's National Wind Technology Center and its Energy Systems Integration Facility.


This technology is suitable for tidal, river and ocean current generation. The turbine unit is built primarily with composite materials, thus, it resists corrosion in fresh and salt water alike. The generating system has a modular design that makes it easy to adapt to the needs of different site environments and can be configured differently depending on whether a single unit or a multiple device array is required. The modular design also makes transportation during initial installation easier, as well as periodic service and maintenance. Several options for power transmission from the generator to the grid are available depending on the distance electricity must travel. Initial field tests have proven that this technology is compatible for connections to a large stiff grid or small village microgrid, thus, widening the market sector of this technology.


Remote communities pay up to 15 times more for electricity than their more centrally located peers. Generating their own power would allow these communities to save money on electricity while creating local jobs in clean power generation.

Water-based power is clean and causes no carbon or particulate emissions. For remote communities, replacing diesel fuel generation with clean power cuts local pollutants and reduces the need for transportation emissions associated with shipping diesel fuel.

Micro-grid technology has important military applications for expeditionary forces. They are also important for emergency responders who set up camps, bases and temporary homes in the wake of disasters.

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