Fabricators have completed work on the pontoons and chassis for a second tidal river power system, called RivGen, for Ocean Renewable Power Co. of Maine. Its first system has been generating electricity since October 2019 in the Kvichak River in Igiugig, Alaska, about 240 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Company chief engineer Ryan Tyler says lessons learned during the building and installation of the first RivGen device were applied when his team worked with vendors to improve quality while reducing fabrication complexity and cost of the second RivGen unit.
“We implemented small design changes to improve field operations and make on-water installation easier, and we made modifications to the turbines and structural assembly to increase durability and mitigate against the accumulation of ice during mid-winter operations,” he says.
Although the team was generally pleased with the system performance during 2019/2020 winter icing events, members modified its design to reduce ice accumulation and to improve its response when it occurred, he says. They also modified how the system operates to improve its icing tolerance.
The second RivGen now in the final stages of fabrication in Leeds, Maine, will be shipped to the company facility in Brunswick, Maine, according to the firm. Following system assembly, it will be verified, then disassembled, packaged, and shipped to Igiugig before commercial deployment, which is planned for summer.
Ocean Renewable Power is advancing on three projects in Alaska, in addition to two in Chile and another two in Canada, it says,
Funding to the Iguigug Village Council from the US Dept. of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy totaling $1.5 million provides a 50/50 match for the $3.1 million project currently in progress to build the second RivGen device and acquire smart microgrid electronics and energy storage