Tide to Turn Turbines to Generate Power in NYC’s East River
by Mark Clayton, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, January 3, 2011
Wind and solar power get the lion’s share of attention in the realm of green energy. But Monday marked a milestone for another renewable energy source, tidal power, with the nation’s first-ever application to build a tidal power plant licensed to transmit energy onto the nation’s electrical grid.
Verdant Power, a New York company, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to install up to 30 new tidal power turbines in the east channel of New York’s East River.
“We are extremely excited about the submission of this license application,” Ron Smith, CEO of Verdant Power said in a statement. “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.”
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The company’s three-bladed underwater turbines work a lot like a submerged version of a wind power plant to capture the power generated by tides, the cyclical rushing of water toward shore or back toward the ocean. But to deploy such a system, the company had to conduct extensive research to show its system does not harm fish or other aquatic life.
To do that, Verdant Power from 2006-2008 deployed six full-size turbines in the East River, delivering energy to New York City businesses. Partial funding for the design and testing of a new composite turbine blade was contributed by the US Department of Energy. Research support came from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and the University of Minnesota.
“It’s a big step and a great milestone for the US and the offshore-energy industry,” says John Miller, executive director of the New England Marine Renewable Energy Center at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. “Verdant certainly has had to carry more of their share of the load. They’ve been the groundbreaker for this. They’ve conducted a tremendous number of costly studies in order to show no harmful impacts on fish.” [Read rest of story]