PORTLAND, Maine -- Maine regulators have put three utilities on the path to distribute electricity harnessed from tides at the nation's eastern tip, a key milestone in a bid to turn the natural rise and fall of ocean levels into power.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission set terms for a contract that would be in place for 20 years. The regulators also directed the three utilities to negotiate with Ocean Renewable Power Co. to put electricity onto the grid this summer, the first long-term power purchase agreements for tidal energy in the United States.
"It's a landmark in the commercialization of tidal energy in the U.S.," said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of the Portland-based company.
Ocean Renewable intends to install its first underwater turbine unit this summer on Cobscook Bay under a demonstration project.