State, National and World News

Maine company to ship new river power system to Alaska

ORPC Inc., a Portland-based company that designs and sells turbines that use river or ocean water to generate energy, on Wednesday unveiled its first commercial system for use on rivers.

The RivGen Power System will be shipped to Alaska to be installed on the Kvichak River this summer, the company said during an announcement Wednesday attended by Gov. Janet Mills.

The turbine will provide electricity to the remote Alaskan village of Igiugig to halve its diesel fuel use. The aim is to move the village toward a goal of only using diesel for emergency backup, ORPC said.

Chris Sauer, the company’s CEO, said the new product combines ORPC’s power systems with smart grid electronics and energy storage to create a no-carbon microgrid.

“ORPC is a shining example of how we can harness innovation to grow our economy and create a clean, sustainable energy future,” Mills said.

To create its turbine technology, the company collaborated with 280 partners, contractors and service providers from 14 of the state’s 16 counties.

The company in March started a campaign to raise more than $500,000 on Netcapital, a fundraising website for investing in privately held companies.

ORPC said it has raised more than $90 million since it was founded in 2004. It has deployed 11 power systems and has been granted 39 patents.

The company also has an operations center in Eastport, a project office in Anchorage and offices in Montreal and Dublin.

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