Two RivGen power systems prior to deployment in the Kvichak River in Alaska. (Courtesy of ORPC.)
Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – A partnership was announced this week between the Borough of Mat-Su and energy company ORPC Inc. to test its RivGen Power System, a system believed to harness clean, sustainable energy from free-flowing tidal and river currents.
The tidal energy system would be located at the Upper Cook Inlet industrial and commercial port facility in Port MacKenzie.
Matanuska Susitna Port Director Therese Dolan said in a statement that it was a win for everyone.
“This power source is virtually limitless and could cover all of the port’s electrical costs, especially cathodic protection, and provide a source of power for manufacturing in the port district,” Dolan said.
According to an ORPC statement, the power system harnesses predictable energy from tidal currents and rivers and can provide the sustainable baseload electricity needed to power these systems.
If the tests go well, they said Port MacKenzie would be the first port in the United States to harness tidal power for local operations and economic development opportunities.
In the meantime, ORPC will carry out environmental reviews and analyzes of Cook Inlet beluga whales as the company launches the Port MacKenzie project as well as its tidal energy project in East Foreland, Cook Inlet, under a preliminary permit. of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
ORPC has initiated an adaptive management process in consultation with federal and state regulators for beluga whale risk and impact assessment to inform this work.
In addition to efforts in Port MacKenzie, ORPC’s presence in Alaska includes a project office in Anchorage, an operations project in the village of Igiugig, tidal energy development activities in the East Foreland in Cook Inlet in partnership with Homer Electric Association and a -funded project to develop a micro-grid based on tidal energy in the town of False Pass.