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February 28, 2012 | last updated February 29, 2012 11:02 am

ORPC gets license to test tidal power system

Federal regulators have given Ocean Renewable Power Co. a license to install a 300-kilowatt tidal power pilot project off the shores of Eastport in Cobscook Bay.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license allows Portland-based ORPC to construct and operate tidal power turbine generators mounted on the sea floor, according to a press release from Maine's congressional delegation. FERC's approval says the company will begin by installing one generator unit in the first year, followed by four additional units the second year, as well as an underwater power and data cable. The system would also be connected to the Bangor Hydro Electric Co. transmission grid through a 60-foot transmission line. The license is valid for eight years, and construction could begin as early as next month.

ORPC applied for the license in September following successful beta testing. The license approval positions the company to become the first in the country to operate a grid-connected tidal energy project.

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FERC's order approving ORPC's license

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