Chris Sauer, one of Portland’s most well-known entrepreneurs, has announced his retirement just months after helping his energy company land $11 million in financing.

Sauer, CEO of Ocean Renewable Power Co., co-founded the marine renewable energy company in 2004, and initially served as its chief technology officer.

Sauer issued a statement Thursday saying he intends to retire on Jan. 17. His successor is expected to be announced in early January.

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. On Thursday, Sauer announced his decision to retire. The company recently received commitments for more than $11 million in new financing. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

In 2006, Sauer became the chief executive of ORPC and helped develop renewable energy systems based on submerged turbines in tidal areas and rivers. A 2012 pilot project in Cobscook Bay was the first in the United States to deliver electricity to the grid from tidal turbines. A second project, using turbines in the Kvichak River, has produced power for a remote village in Alaska.

In recent months the company has received an infusion of cash. On Nov. 1, the Department of Energy awarded ORPC a grant of $3.9 million to help develop its RivGen system. A week later, it received $7.5 million from a group of private investors. The money is expected to be used to help the company expand its business development and sales focus in the United States, Canada and Chile.

“I am most proud of the motivated, innovative and caring professionals who comprise the ORPC team,” Sauer said in a statement. “The core values which are the backbone of ORPC’s team culture and our way of doing business are exemplified in our mission to improve people’s lives, and their environment, through sustainable energy solutions.”

The company employs 30 people located in three countries, including its headquarters in Portland.

Sauer, who lives on Moose Pond in Denmark, will continue to be involved in the company as an adviser, the statement said.

“Chris has been – and will remain – an inspirational leader to our team,” ORPC President John Ferland said. “I have worked directly with him for 12 years and know firsthand the positive impact he has had on each and every employee, board member and investor. ORPC would not be where it is today without his vision,”

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