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.”

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