U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Water Power Program

All Eyes on Eastport: Tidal Energy Project Brings Change, Opportunity to Local Community

July 24, 2012

Today in Eastport, Maine, people are gathering to celebrate a project that will harness the power of the massive tides of Cobscook Bay to generate clean electricity.   

At a public dedication event this afternoon, Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Company will unveil its first commercial-scale tidal turbine before it is deployed underwater to generate power.    

The pilot project -- supported by $10 million in funding from the Energy Department -- is expected to generate enough energy to power 100 area homes. Once successfully deployed, it will be among the first commercial, grid-connected projects of its kind in the nation.  

Investing in tidal energy is part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy to develop every source of American energy to reduce costs for consumers, protect our air and water, and move the United States toward true energy independence.  

Ocean Renewable Power’s Eastport venture not only represents a monumental step for the U.S. tidal energy industry -- it also holds important economic implications for surrounding coastal communities.  

We recently caught up with Captain Gerald “Gerry” Morrison, Vice President of Perry Marine & Construction, for more insight into what the project means for local families and businesses.  

“I grew up here. I can remember when Eastport made things,” said Morrison whose family ties to the area go back for five generations. “I’d like Eastport to go back to the days when there were a lot of people here and people had jobs. That’s what I’d like to see,” he added.  

For Morrison, Ocean Renewable Power’s project spells economic opportunity for the people who live and work in the area. His own company, Perry Marine & Construction -- a joint venture with CPM Constructors -- works to manufacture and deploy tidal turbines developed by Ocean Renewable Power’s team of engineers.    

As Ocean Renewable Power’s project continues to expand and evolve, so too has Morrison’s own venture. Perry Marine & Construction is building a new turbine fabrication facility, and the size of the company’s staff has doubled.   

When asked what his favorite aspect was of the project, Morrison described the excitement of working on something that’s “never been done before” and “fresh out of the box.” But at the end of the day, what is most important, explained Morrison is the project’s economic implications. “It’s jobs for the area,” he said. “Made in the USA. Made in Eastport. By American people who take pride in their work. That’s the key.”    To learn more about the Maine Tidal Energy Project view our press release.