Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) is to install its first river hydrokinetic power system in South America next year after signing a deal with the Municipality of Chile Chico in the Aysén region of Patagonia, with potential for further installations in the future.
A gateway community to Chile’s Patagonia region, Chile Chico’s 6,218 residents are serviced by both on grid and off-grid electricity networks. The community is situated on General Carrera Lake which forms the headwaters of the Baker River, the largest volume watercourse in the country and considered the strongest in Latin America.
Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, ORPC Chile, ORPC is to deploy a RivGen® Power System at the meeting point of General Carrera Lake and Bertrand Lake, where the Baker River begins. The initial device will be connected to the Edelaysen utility regional grid network.
ORPC Chile envisions that next year’s RivGen installation will be the first of many for the community, as well as other locations in the Baker River area and elsewhere in Patagonia, Sergio Andrade, country director for ORPC Chile, said in a statement.
ORPC’s RivGen Project in the tribal village of Igiugig, Alaska, is the longest operating hydrokinetic project in all of the Americas. It is deployed in the Kvichak River, the largest sockeye salmon run river in the U.S. The installation of a second device together with an energy storage system and smart microgrid controls this year are enabling the community to reduce its diesel use by 60% to 90%. ORPC’s partnership with Igiugig exemplifies how
ORPC can provide baseload renewable energy while reducing diesel dependence and cost, and lower carbon emissions, noise, and environmental risk, without putting fishery resources at risk.