A tidal energy project previously mentioned here on Revmodo has successfully started supplying energy to the grid as of September 13.

Ocean Renewable Power Company’s (ORPC) Cobscook Bay Tidal Energy Project, located off the coast of Eastport, Maine, is the first commercial tidal power project in the U.S. to deliver electricity to the power grid. For now it is only generating 180 kilowatts of electricity from its four turbines – enough power for 25 to 30 homes – but plans call for additional turbine units to be installed in the region over the next four years in order to bring capacity up to 4 megawatts, enough to power more than 1,000 homes. The company believes that there is at least 50 megawatts of power to be harnessed off the coast of Maine, where nearly 100 billion tons of water moves through the bays during tidal shifts.

“This historic moment elevates the U.S. to the world stage,” said Ocean Renewable Power’s President and CEO Chris Sauer. “This is the first electricity that’s ever been delivered to an electricity grid from an ocean resource — whether it’s tidal or wind — in North or South America.”

The project was one of two tidal energy programs to receive go-ahead pilot project licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier in 2012. Ocean Renewable Power’s turbines operate like giant manual lawnmower blades, slowly spinning deep underwater, and early tests are showing no ill effect on marine life. The other project given a green light is from Verdant Power and will be in New York City’s East River, featuring turbines which look like typical land-based wind turbines.

Ocean Renewable will receive 21.5 cents per kilowatt hour produced from utility Bangor Hydro Electric Company, which is slightly more than the average price paid to electricity producers on the open market, and is working on plans to install its TidGen turbine units off the coast of Nova Scotia.

[via CBS News]

Image Credit: Ocean Renewable Power Company