14 December, 2022 Member article

Schneider Electric & ORPC join forces to advance marine energy as a renewable energy source for remote communities

Boston, USA, 7 December 2022 – ARE Member Schneider Electric, the global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, and ORPC, an internationally recognised leader in marine energy technology, innovation and operational excellence, have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on microgrid projects to advance marine energy as a commercially-viable renewable energy source.

Through this collaboration, ORPC and Schneider Electric will install microgrid systems that include Schneider Electric’s energy storage and smart microgrid controllers integrated with ORPC’s RivGen® Power Systems to provide communities worldwide with highly predictable baseload electricity in renewable energy form, enabling the global transition towards net-zero societies.

The ability to provide exciting, cutting-edge, sustainable solutions, like ORPC’s RivGen Power System, works as part of a portfolio of microgrid systems for our customers. It paves the way to establish marine energy as a commercially viable solution in the renewable energy mix,” said Bala Vinayagam, SVP Microgrid Line of Business from Schneider Electric. “The path to net zero includes many forms of decarbonisation and having microgrid systems with ORPC’s technology only widens the impact on what our solutions can provide.

Schneider Electric and ORPC are already working on implementing this solution in partnership with the remote, tribal community of Igiugig, Alaska. When this project is completed in the summer of 2023, the integrated system will form the grid for the community, moving the existing diesel generators to back-up and enabling the village to operate without diesel for between 60% and 90% of the time. In Igiugig, ORPC’s RivGen Power System has proven successful operating through three winters with temperatures going as low as -40 degrees C. As a result of environmental monitoring of the Igiugig project, comprising hundreds of hours of data, not a single injury or mortality to marine or aquatic life has been observed. Schneider Electric supplied Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with EcoStruxure Microgrid Operation to enable use of the RivGen Power System for diesel reduction. This is achieved by leveraging the Grid forming capability of the Schneider Electric BESS.

ORPC has already received inbound interest in its power systems from over 40 countries. Schneider’s global operations include offices in over 100 countries which will enable the two companies to build a global pipeline of projects.

‘’Nearly 1 billion people globally have no access to electricity and another 700 million rely on diesel-fueled off-grid systems. These communities pay up to 15 times more for electricity than grid-connected areas do, and deal daily with the noise, poor air quality and environmental risk resulting from diesel fuel use,” said ORPC CEO Stuart Davies. “We are so pleased to join forces with Schneider Electric, recognised as a leader for microgrid technology and sustainability (2022 Verdantix report) to better respond to the market inquiries we’ve been receiving and together provide baseload power solutions to these areas of the world with the greatest need.

The combination of ORPC’s RivGen Power System and Schneider Electric’s energy storage and smart microgrid controller can serve as a powerful tool to address climate change. For communities already using diesel generators, this system can provide a baseload energy solution and replacement for existing systems,” said Alexandre Paris, Senior Vice President & COO, ORPC. “Developing economies can build out their electricity networks economically without using expensive, centralised grids reliant on fossil fuels.

This partnership is an important step forward in our company’s journey to provide everyone, everywhere with access to clean, reliable electricity from sustainable sources such as marine renewable energy,” says Frederick Morency, VP Sustainability, Strategic Initiatives & Innovation, Schneider Electric. “The combination of Schneider Electric’s microgrid technology and ORPC’s power system solution offers an innovative path to bridge progress and sustainability – and empowers remote communities to help lead the energy transition and preserve the natural environment on which they have built their lives. I am proud of this collaboration and excited to see the new pathways we create together.