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Tidal Project Signals New Shift in Clean Energy: Water Power

One of the biggest challenges to scalable clean energy has been that most renewable energy sources are unreliable: it’s not always sunny and wind is not always blowing. But in the eastern-most corner of the United States, a company has installed the nation’s first commercial, grid-connected tidal energy project. “Tides are totally predictable. We’ve known for centuries when the tides are coming and going,” said Christopher Sauer, CEO of Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC), the company that developed and installed the underwater tidal turbine.

“We can tell you on this day — twenty years from now, at this moment — how much electricity we’ll be generating.”

The implications for this project, which currently generates enough electricity annually to power 25 households, are significant. Water power — including conventional hydropower and new technologies like ORPC tidal turbine — is estimated to nearly double by 2030 and provide an estimated 15 percent of the total domestic electricity supply.

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