National

Sep 10, 2009 3:47 PM by Associated Press

Coast Guard to harness tide for electric power

The Coast Guard has signed off on its first tidal power project, a small underwater turbine that will generate additional electricity at its station in coastal Maine.

The $100,000 project in Eastport will be used to test tidal technology in the nation's northeastern corner, home to some of largest tidal variations in North America.

Capt. Jim McPherson, the Coast Guard's northern New England commander, says there's long-term potential for tidal power at isolated stations in Alaska.

Portland-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. was tapped for the contract. It began testing a prototype underwater turbine off eastern Maine in December 2007.

A larger prototype will light the Coast Guard pier and heat rescue boats so they're ready to respond at a moment's notice.

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