New York surging ahead with tidal energy

US company, Verdant Power, building on its successful operation of six 5m tidal current turbines in New York's East River, has now filed an application to install up to 30 further turbines.

The Phase 2 demonstration known as RITE, standing for Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy, began in 2006 and delivered 70MWh of grid connected power to two end users during 9000 turbine hours of operation. The horizontal axis turbines twist round so as to extract power during both ebb and flood tides and the company reported that there were no power quality problems and the turbines were able to run continuously and unattended. The new installation will use a '5th Generation' system. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has provided partial funding, 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 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Hydrokinetic Pilot Project Licensing Procedures. This was established to enable the advancement of US hydrokinetic technologies (tidal, river and 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 their 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. Verdant Power is head quartered in New York, with subsidiaries in Canada and the UK.