The RivGen® Power System generates electricity from river currents and connects directly into existing remote community grids using smart grid technology. It is a horizontal cross-flow hydrokinetic turbine that consists of three major subsystems: shore-side power electronics, mooring system, and turbine generator (TGU) device.
Note: All information provided was gathered from publicly available sources and may not be fully up-to-date.
Kvichak River, Igiugig, Alaska, U.S. at ~5 m water depth.
Approximately 2 km downstream of Iliamna Lake.
The Igiugig Village Council submitted the final pilot license application for the hydrokinetic project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on November 15, 2018. ORPC and the council hope to launch the project in mid-2019.
Since 2013, ORPC has partnered with the Village of Igiugig, Alaska, to lower energy costs by utilizing renewable energy generated by the Kvichak River. In 2014, ORPC successfully built, deployed, and operated its RivGen® Power System, delivering electricity to Igiugig’s diesel microgrid. In 2015, ORPC re-installed and operated the RivGen® system in Igiugig for two months to demonstrate its latest technology advancements and, in the process, reduced the community's diesel fuel use by one-third when the system was operating.
In late 2018, the Igiugig Village Council submitted a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to install and operate a RivGen® Power System in the Kvichak River. Igiugig will be the first tribal entity in the U.S. to achieve this approval. As of early 2019, ORPC planned to progress with the manufacture of its RivGen® power system at Brunswick Landing in Maine.
Key Environmental Issues
The Kvichak River is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon population, on which many villagers rely for their subsistence and livelihood. The shallow, clear water river environment allowed for the use of video to monitor aquatic life interactions with the RivGen® Power System. As a result of monitoring around our power systems, comprising hundreds of hours of data, not a single injury or mortality to marine or aquatic life was observed.
According to FERC (2019), there are no threatened or endangered species, critical habitat, or essential fish habitat in the project area and the proposed project will have no effect on marine mammals or historic properties. Additionally, the Igiugig Village Council proposed to implement a Fish Monitoring Plan, an Adaptive Management Plan, a Project and Public Safety Plan, and a Navigation Safety Plan.
Papers, Reports, Research Studies
- Resource Reconnaissance & Physical Characterization
- Environmental Assessment for Hydropower License (FERC 2019)
- Flow measurements during RivGen deployment
- Wake measurements from a hydrokinetic river turbine
- Data Analysis for Monitoring of the RivGen® System in the Kvichak River
- Triton: Iguigig Fish Video Analysis Project Report
Baseline Assessment: RivGen® Power System
|Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Physical Environment||Site characterization and hydrographic survey - TerraSond Limited (Kvichak River RISEC Project)||Site characterization, multibeam hydrographic survey, acoustic doppler current profiling, etc.||Baseline site and hydrographic characteristics obtained.||Completed (2011)|
Post-Installation Monitoring: RivGen® Power System
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Collision||Fish||Impact of RivGen® on fish (collision/strike) – LGL Alaska Research Associated, Inc.||Monitored video footage from 5 cameras placed on one side of the device (2015).||Did not detect any obvious physical injuries to fish, and saw no altered behavior by wildlife near the RivGen®device. ||Completed (2015)|
|Collision||Fish||Impact of RivGen® on fish (collision/strike) – PNNL’s Triton Initiative (Igiugig Fish Video Analysis Project)||Analyzed video footage collected by LGL Alaska. Developed algorithms for automatic detection of fish (2015).||Discovered that (1) most interactions occurred at night, (2) the frequency of interactions did not appear to be affected by whether the turbine was spinning or static, and (3) adult fish were qualitatively more likely to avoid collision and to show avoidance behaviour compared to juveniles.||Completed (2015)|
|Changes in Flow||Ecosystem Processes||RivGen® effect on surrounding hydrodynamics – University of Washington||Measured spatial and temporal variability of inflow velocities after deployment (2014).||Significant reduction in mean flow, from 2 to 1 m/s, observed. Increase in turbulence intensity not observed.||Completed (2014)|
|Changes in Flow||Ecosystem Processes||RivGen® effect on surrounding hydrodynamics – University of Washington||Measured flow conditions around device prior to and after deployment (2015).||Persistent turbine wake observed, with no recovery downstream of the device. Similar operational and non-operational wakes. River energy loss in wake comparable to energy delivered to grid.||Completed (2015)|