Portland renewable energy firm to install power system at other end of the world

Ocean Renewable Power Co., the Portland-based developer of renewable power systems that generate electricity from river and tidal currents, plans to install a new power system more than 6,400 miles from Maine next year — in Chile.

The company, known as ORPC, said last week it has reached an agreement with the municipality of Chile Chico to install ORPC’s RivGen Power System there.

A gateway community to Chile’s Patagonia region, Chile Chico’s 6,218 residents are serviced by both on-grid and off-grid electricity networks. The community is situated on General Carrera Lake which forms the headwaters of the Baker River.

ORPC’s first installation there will be a RivGen Power System deployed at the meeting point of General Carrera Lake and Bertrand Lake, where the Baker River begins. The initial device will be connected to the Edelaysen utility regional grid network.

Chile Chico is interested in expanding use of renewable energy throughout its community. In the next few years the municipality plans to expand electric vehicle charging networks and tourist traveler services, add public lighting in off-grid areas of the community, and create additional electrical capacity to support sustainable community development.

Electricity delivered from the ORPC system would displace diesel-fueled power generation for all those uses.