Tidal power company files application for NYC installation

Verdant Power plans to install 30 tidal turbines in the East River in New York City, representing the first tidal power plant in the U.S. The turbines use newly designed composite blades.

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Verdant Power (New York, N.Y.) has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to install as many as 30 tidal power turbines in the East Channel of the East River in New York City. If approved, Verdant’s proposed Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project would field the first tidal power plant in the U.S. licensed to feed electricity into the national grid for public consumption. Described as a pilot project, the plant would commercialize Verdant’s Free Flow Kinetic Hydropower System, based on multiple three-bladed turbines designed for fast-moving tides and rivers. The application was prompted by Verdant’s successful demonstration (circa 2006-2008) of a Free Flow system comprising six full-scale turbines that provided energy to private businesses in New York City. (Read about this and similar pilot projects in CT June 2007 (p. 28) or click link at right.)

“We are extremely excited about the submission of this license application,” says Verdant Power CEO Ron Smith. “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 U.S. clean-energy mix.”

Notably, Verdant’s design and testing of the new composite rotor blade that will be used on the system’s turbines was done in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Golden, Colo.), Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, N.M.) and the University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. The DoE provided partial funding for the blade’s development. Major funding for the RITE Project has been provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corp.

The license application has been submitted under FERC’s Hydrokinetic Pilot Project Licensing Procedures, established to enable the advancement of U.S. hydrokinetic (tidal, river, wave power) technologies, while maintaining FERC oversight and agency input. The project should begin in late 2011, pending approvals.