Maine Company Looks to Tidal Power as Renewable Energy’s Next Generation

After years of development, tidal and river energy supporters say the technology is on the cusp of wider commercial deployment, especially if it can win federal support.

With much of New England’s attention on offshore wind, a Maine company hopes to put itself on the map with tidal energy.

Portland, Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Eastport on a five-year plan to develop a $10 million microgrid primarily powered by tidal generation.

The project will be an opportunity for the small port city to expand its workforce and build its appeal for younger residents. It’s also an opportunity for ORPC to expand its reach as the company’s leaders try to find a viable market for ocean- and river-based generation in an industry largely dominated by solar and wind.

….

“Tidal energy generally has been a bit of a background player in Maine’s energy world,” said Jeff Marks, Acadia Center’s senior policy advocate and Maine director. “But as far as Maine’s entrepreneurial energy world, it’s been pretty prominent over the last decade, and ORPC has been leading that.”

“Solar and wind are getting the attention now because they’re commercially viable and available today,” Marks said, but those resources spent a long time in development. “This is kind of how decarbonization and clean energy progress works in New England and throughout the country and throughout the world.”

Read the full article from Energy News here

Energy Bill Takes on Storm Response and Grid Reform Challenges

Energy legislation wasn’t on the radar for any special legislative sessions called to deal with critical issues lost to the COVID-cancelled session from this winter. Even the annual July electric rate adjustment –- which this year contained big increases that sparked public outrage — would not have warranted legislation.

That was until Tropical Storm Isaias strafed Connecticut on Aug. 4, leaving close to 1 million customers without power and enduring the slow recovery that followed.

As legislators meet this week, a bill aimed at holding Eversource, especially, and the state’s other electric utility United Illuminating to account for future storm responses  is taking center stage. The legislation also contains provisions touted by Gov. Ned Lamont as: “Establishing a performance-based regulation to hold the state’s electricity, gas, and water companies accountable for the critical services they provide to customers.”

Well, sort of.

What’s in the latest version of the bill is eliciting few objections. It’s what it doesn’t contain that may cause problems.

What didn’t make it into the bill – now down to a mere 20 pages from its 40-page original – is a way to help stabilize the state’s solar industry as COVID continues its economic slash and burn. Also MIA is expansion of a wildly popular program to help municipalities benefit from clean and renewable energy even if they can’t site it in their own town.

Read the full article in the CT Mirror here