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Washington, DC - US Energy Secretary Steven Chu today awarded more than $1.3 million to Ocean Renewable Power Company in Portland, Maine to improve the efficiency, flexibility, and environmental performance of hydroelectric energy. The investment will further the nation's supply of domestic clean hydroelectricity through technological innovation and will advance research to maximize the nation's largest renewable energy source.

"Hydropower is our largest source of renewable energy and it can play an even bigger role in the further. These investments will create jobs, cut carbon pollution and help put us on a path to a clean energy economy," said Secretary Chu.

"Maine is a leader in the development of renewable sources of energy and has set ambitious goals for reducing our dependency on fossil fuels," said Governor Baldacci.  "This federal support will help realize the opportunity we have to move Maine forward on the path to clean, renewable energy production."

"The Department of Energy's decision to provide substantial resources to Portland's Ocean Renewable Power Company to pursue advanced hydropower demonstrates the economic potential of renewable energy as well as the reality that Maine can boldly increase our Nation's energy independence," said Senator Olympia J. Snowe. "Maine companies are at the forefront of the clean energy industry and Ocean Renewable Power Company has shown exceptional leadership in developing energy solutions that work both for our economy as well as for the environment.  I am encouraged that this significant grant will catalyze Maine's renewable energy potential into production."

"We must rally around a national effort to achieve energy independence for our economic, environmental and national security," said Senator Susan Collins.  "Maine has significant potential to develop hydroelectric energy resources but investment is critical.  This funding is welcome recognition of the innovation that Ocean Renewable Power Company is pursuing to help achieve the goal of energy independence by creating clean electricity."

"ORPC is at the forefront of tidal power and is helping develop the clean energy industry in this country.  New forms of energy like those being developed by ORPC will be part of an American made solution to our energy problems, creating new jobs, bringing down energy costs and helping reduce global warming pollution.  This is a great investment for Maine and for the country," said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

The projects selected for negotiation of awards include:

Ocean Renewable Power Company (Portland, ME) will design a standard mooring system for hydrokinetic devices that will be moored below the surface and suspended in the water column in reversing tidal environments. The Ocean Renewable Power Company will validate its tidal turbine by deploying it in Western Passage, Maine.

DOE share: up to $750,000; Duration: up to 2 years

Ocean Renewable Power Company (Portland, ME) will use a new combination of monitoring technologies to collect baseline data on pre-deployment patterns of marine mammal distribution in Cook Inlet, Alaska, with special emphasis on the endangered beluga whale. Monitoring during and after deployment will then occur to determine marine mammal interaction with the company's tidal turbine.

DOE share: up to $600,000; Duration: up to one year

Today's announcement builds upon the Obama Administration's commitment to expanding the use of hydro power in the U.S.  In addition to today's announcement, Secretary Chu also announced more than $13 million for 20 advanced water power projects. The full list of projects can be found here: Advanced Water Power Technologies

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