Marine hydropower developer proposes commercial tidal power plant for New York City's East River

Marine hydro firm Verdant Power has filed an application with the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow the company to install up to 30 new tidal power turbines in the East Channel of the East River in New York, NY.

If approved, the project would be the first tidal power plant in the United States licensed to transmit energy onto the national grid, a press release states.

"We are extremely excited about the submission of this license application," stated Ron Smith, CEO of Verdant Power. "It represents the culmination of nearly a decade of work undertaken by Verdant Power and a variety of project stakeholders to add tidal power to the US clean energy mix."

Called The Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project, the initiative has been Verdant Power's signature effort to commercialize its 'Free Flow' kinetic hydropower system, which utilizes three-bladed turbines deployed in fast-moving tides and rivers to generate clean energy. During 2006-08, Verdant Power successfully demonstrated a Free Flow System comprised of six full-scale turbines, delivering energy to businesses in New York City with no power quality problems. The RITE Project would have a capacity of about 1 MW and is expected to generate 1,680 to 2,500 MWh of electricity annually, previous reports indicate.

Verdant Power would install an advanced, 5th Generation Free Flow System through the proposed pilot project – an updated design enhanced for system reliability, cost-effective manufacturing and environmental compatibility. The US Department of Energy (DOE) provided partial funding for this advancement, specifically the design and testing of a new composite turbine blade in partnership with the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Minnesota's St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Major funding for the development of the RITE Project has been provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The license application has been submitted under FERC's Hydrokinetic Pilot Project Licensing Procedures, established to allow for the advancement of US hydrokinetic technologies (tidal, river, wave power), while maintaining FERC oversight and agency input. The application was prepared by Verdant Power with support from Kleinschmidt Associates and outlines the company's plans to meet FERC requirements for installation and operation, including environmental monitoring and public safeguarding. Verdant Power conducted environmental monitoring of the Free Flow System during the six-turbine demonstration at the RITE Project, developing significant environmental data on the technology that showed no evidence of increased fish injury or mortality in the demonstration area. Verdant Power would continue environmental monitoring plans, developed in conjunction with federal and state resource agencies, during the proposed pilot project to study any impacts of the larger field, which is planned for incremental installation beginning in late 2011, pending approvals.

This article was reprinted with permission from RenewableEnergyWorld.com as part of the PennWell Corporation Renewable Energy World Network and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the publisher.

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