Ocean Renewable Power Co. has received more financial backing, closing on $7.5 million in private funding a week after it receiving a federal grant for nearly $4 million.

Gov. Janet Mills laughs with Chris Sauer, CEO of Ocean Renewable Power Co., at the launch of its innovative RivGen power system in Brunswick last spring. The company just closed on $7.5 million in private financing. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The money will allow the Portland company, which harnesses power from river and tidal systems, to expand its business development and sales focus in the United States, Canada and Chile.

“With our first commercial product launched, we are thrilled to secure the growth capital needed to expand our business development and sales efforts in a strategic and aggressive manner,” Chris Sauer, ORPC’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “We are also very pleased to welcome substantial, first-time investors to our ownership group.”

He declined to identify the investors, except to say they are individual, out-of-state private funders.

On Nov. 1, the Department of Energy awarded ORPC a grant of $3,875,859 to help develop its RivGen system, which uses turbines submersed in rivers to create electricity. The technology is being used to power a remote village near the Kvichak River in Alaska with renewable, carbon-free electricity.

The infusion of money is expected to position the company for significant growth. ORPC plans to install a second RivGen device, along with smart microgrid controls and electronics, and an energy storage system, next year, creating a renewable energy solution that the company estimates will reduce the host community’s diesel fuel use by 90 percent.

ORPC is receiving strong market interest from other remote communities and facilities in the U.S., Canada and Chile that have no access to regional power grids or fuel pipelines, and are seeking lower cost, sustainable energy solutions, Sauer said.

ORPC was the first company in the U.S. to deliver electricity to the grid from tidal turbines – a 2012 demonstration project it conducted in Cobscook Bay.

Last spring, the company celebrated the launch of its marine renewable power system at Brunswick Landing, where its RivGen system was built.

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