ORPC Canada has launched its first hydrokinetic power system in Canada at Seven Sisters Falls, Manitoba.
The RivGen® Power System – designed to provide electricity from free-flowing rivers and tidal currents – was installed in partnership with the Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Test Centre (CHTTC). It was fabricated by Stace in Quebec, then shipped to Manitoba where the device was re-assembled near the CHTTC with the help of Canadian partners and local contractors: NRCan-CanmetEnergy, Hatch, University of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, Turtle Island Innovations, Able Crane, Dominion Divers and Griff’s Mechanical. ORPC Canada said it is helping Canadian suppliers that have historically worked in offshore oil and gas, to develop expertise in the marine energy sector here and internationally.
‘’ORPC hydrokinetic power systems are a game changer in remote regions of the world and play an important role in transitioning off-grid communities to predictable forms of renewable energy. This baseload electricity will play a strategic role in local microgrids in addition to intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar. Bringing stability and reliability to the grid, ORPC power systems will enable displacing up to 60 to 90% of diesel consumption in partner communities,” said Alexandre Paris, Chief Executive Officer, ORPC Canada. ‘’With our proven technology, we are confident that our innovative power systems will become a permanent solution in Canada.’’
Without the use of dams or impoundments, the RivGen Power System can provide baseload power for off-grid, remote and Indigenous communities, and industrial applications, and significantly reduce diesel use, said the company.
ORPC power systems are built in modular fashion for easy transport, assembly, installation and retrieval. Specifically designed for reliable operation in remote and rural areas where heavy lift equipment and large marine vessels are not always available, the RivGen Power System is designed to plug into existing off-grid systems improving reliability or availability of electricity to the community.
Over the coming months, the RivGen Power System in Manitoba will be monitored, tested, and validated for further deployment in Canada. In addition, community leaders interested in adopting the RivGen Power System for use on their local microgrids will be invited to learn more through visiting the project at the CHTTC, receiving educational materials, and participating in trainings specifically for communities.
“ORPC’s RivGen System has already shown outstanding safety and reliability in Alaska,” said Dr. Eric Bibeau, Associate Professor at University of Manitoba, and CHTTC Director. “We look forward to continuing to work with community leaders and policy makers to accelerate awareness and acceptance of this clean and renewable energy.”
ORPC’s project in partnership with the remote, tribal community of Igiugig, Alaska, set the record as the longest operating hydrokinetic project in the Americas. The RivGen Power System has proven to be successful by operating through three winters with temperatures going as low as -40 degrees C. As a result of environmental monitoring at the Igiugig project, comprising hundreds of hours of data, not a single injury or mortality to marine or aquatic life has been observed.