PORTLAND – The Ocean Renewable Power Co. in Portland has won two Department of Energy grants for a total of nearly $5 million to help it further develop its tidal power technology.

Ocean Renewable Power became the first company to connect tidal power generators to the electric grid with a project currently under way near Eastport.

“We’ve proven the technology but this federal investment will give us the boost we need to take it to the next level. And it’s going to mean more jobs and investment in Maine,” said Chris Sauer, president of Ocean Renewable Power.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said Thursday that Ocean Renewable Power won two of 17 awards in a highly competitive grant program.

“This funding will help Maine continue to be a leader in developing new sources of clean energy that create good-paying jobs right here at home,” Pingree said.

Pingree’s husband, S. Donald Sussman, is the majority share owner of MaineToday Media Inc., which publishes the Portland Press Herald.

The company said the grant for $1.9 million will help it develop new ways to monitor tidal current and develop new ways to get more energy out of that current. The other grant for $3 million will help it study the components that convert water currents into electricity and develop more-efficient equipment that can be used in tidal, wave and river current generators.

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