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Updated: January 9, 2020

New CEO of Portland-based marine renewable energy company has big plans

Courtesy / ORPC Inc. ORPC's RivGen power turbine is shown prior to being lowered into the Kvichak River at the remote Alaskan village of Igiugig in 2016. The Portland-based company is changing leadership this month.

The new head of ORPC Inc. comes to the position after several years of advising and investing in the Portland-based company. 

Stuart Davies joined its board of directors and will succeed Chris Sauer as CEO on Jan. 20, according to a news release.

ORPC, also known as Ocean Renewable Power Co., is a marine renewable energy business founded in 2004. It's the first company to have built, operated and delivered power to a utility grid from a tidal energy project (in Maine), and to a remote community grid from a river energy project (in Alaska).

Davies is a business veteran who plans to focus on turning the company's prior accomplishments into commercial success.

Courtesy / ORPC Inc.
ORPC's new CEO, Stuart Davies, comes to the position after several years of advising and investing in the company.

“Stuart is a sophisticated leader who will expand ORPC’s business development and sales focus in the U.S., Canada and Chile, and position the company for growth and profitability,” Sauer said in the release.

Davies’ most recently invested in several early-stage companies whose products either reduce carbon emissions or improve the environment. Before that, he was chief investment officer of Global Opportunistic Credit and an investment committee member of Sankaty Advisors, where he worked for 17 years. During that time, he served on the boards of more than 20 companies and was a board observer for dozens of other companies in the energy, industrial manufacturing, food, consumer product, retail and packaging industries. 

Davies graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in economics and earned an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. He is also involved with the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative as a member of its renewable energy finance roundtable.

ORPC helps remote communities transition off diesel power by harnessing energy from river and tidal currents using the company's RivGen and TidGen power systems.

“Providing predictable baseload power as the key part of smart microgrids that also combine wind, solar, and energy storage to handle peak load demands will give these communities smart, emission-free, energy independence,” Davies said.

Since its launch 16 years ago, ORPC has grown to 30 employees in three countries.

Courtesy / ORPC Inc.
Chris Sauer co-founded ORPC nearly 16 years ago and will retire as CEO Jan. 20.

In addition to its Portland headquarters, it has offices in Montreal (ORPC Canada) and Dublin (ORPC Ireland), an operations center and test site co-hosted by Eastport and Lubec, and a project office in Anchorage, Alaska. 

In November, the company announced the U.S. Department of Energy awarded it a grant of $3,875,859 to further develop its innovative hydropower technology. 

ORPC will use the grant to develop hydropower turbines that fit the specific constraints of rivers, allowing them to be used in more remote areas.

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