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S TA R T U P S Power from the tides Engagement with remote communities helps maker of river-driven power system scale up B y L a u r i e S c h r e i b e r P H O T O / F R E D F I E L D F O C U S VO L . X X I X N O. V ยง 2 M A R C H 6 , 2 0 2 3 12 Stuart Davies, CEO of ORPC, says its river- and tidal-driven power generation systems have received market outreach from 48 countries. F or the maker of a river-driven power system that depends on real-world application for its development, the first year of COVID "was incredibly challeng- ing," says Stuart Davies, CEO of Ocean Renewable Power Co., which is based in Portland. "We were trying to keep our devel- opment projects moving forward when our entire team had to work remotely, there was no ability to conduct phys- ical tank testing or to travel to moni- tor a device in a remote community," Davies says. "ere were no trade show opportunities to reach out to prospective customers." But that didn't stop the team. ORPC worked with the remote Alaskan village of Igiugig, where it had successfully deployed a pilot proj- ect, and with university researchers to develop pandemic safety and social distancing protocols that enabled the firm to have continued access to its projects. The company leveraged cash relief provided by Maine Technology Institute and Coastal Enterprises Inc. Agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy, continued to provide competitively awarded grants; investors provided sufficient liquidity to help ORPC weather the storm. e Paycheck Protection Program also helped. "We have been working closely with the tribal village of Igiugig, Alaska, and that project should reach comple- tion later this year," says Davies.

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