New Coast Guard station relies on the waves to generate electricity

(NBC) - A renewable energy company is continuing its study to determine the potential for tidal power in part of Maine's Cobscook Bay by bringing supplemental power to the U.S. Coast Guard station in Eastport.

"Ocean Renewable Power" first launched the Tidal Energy 2 back in March. The research vessel, which is a barge with a turbine generator attached to it, is being used to asses the power that can come from the tides.

So far, company researchers say they can get up to 60 kilowatts of power from a six knot current. Energy from the turbine is being used to power the barge itself. The rest is stored in batteries to help power the coast guard station.

"Ocean Renewable" says it hopes to get a better idea of the full potential of the tides in the bay by erecting more turbines in the coming year.

"We think that there's very possibly 100 to 200 megawatts in this area," said company CEO Chris Sauer, "so it would be a long time before that would come to fruition but we think that that could be the potential."

The company has also been studying marine life in the area with help from the University of Maine. "Ocean Renewable" hopes to start feeding power into Bangor Hydro's grid by late next year.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.