The device above, shown in a company video from the Ocean Renewable Power Company, or ORPC, shows the installation of a gigantic piece of equipment that I saw while visiting the small town of Eastport, Maine. Eastport, as we've suggested before, has been harder-hit than most other places we have visited, and is now in the process of placing its bets on a variety of prospects for economic revival, rather than being able to look back with satisfaction on big strategic choices that have already paid off.
One of those bets that is most astonishing, in its scale and in the long-term nature of its commitment, is ORPC's attempt to create workable turbines to draw on the vast tidal energy of the adjoining waters. I am (alas! everything about being a writer is great, except for the having-to-write part) in the middle of writing an actual article about Eastport for our next issue, which will say more about ORPC and some of the other things we have learned from this little town. But as a place holder, before too much more time passes, I wanted to invite your attention to a project that would seem ambitious for Seattle or Los Angeles but happens to be based in a struggling town of 1300 people.
You can see a video from Solid Works, a 3D-CAD design company that has been using its computerized models to simulate the stresses on the turbine—and its generating potential:
And a raft of other explanatory videos at an ORPC site here. For now I'll mention one comment that stayed with us, from ORPC's Bob Lewis, an Eastport local who has been with the company since nearly its start.