Central Maine Power, Bangor Hydro Electric Co. and Maine Public Service Co. will negotiate a 20-year contract with Ocean Renewable to put tide-generated electricity onto the grid this summer, reported Associated Press. The Maine Public Utilities Commission created a contract term sheet for the project.
The contract regulates the rate to be paid for the electricity at 21.5 cents per kilowatt hour, a subsidized rate that is higher than the current standard offer of about 11 to 12 cents.Maine’s public advocate, Richard Davies and his staff support the project because the price of energy produced by fossil fuels, will grow much faster than the price of tidal energy.
Earlier this year, Ocean Renewable’s Maine Tidal Energy Project received pilot project license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The company plans to install its first underwater turbine unit this summer on Cobscook Bay under a demonstration project. Power production will begin with the first unit supplying electricity for 20 to 25 homes. Additional units at the sites off both Lubec and Eastport in the pilot program will bring production to 4 megawatts, which is enough to supply more than 1,000 homes with electricity by 2016.
Offshore WIND staff, April 26, 2012; Image: ORPC