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First US Commercial Tidal Power Plant Proposed for East River

New York-based company Verdant Power has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to install up to 30 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.

“We are extremely excited about the submission of this license application,” Verdant Power CEO Ron Smith said. “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.”

Dubbed 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.

Through the proposal, Verdant Power would install an advanced, fifth generation Free Flow System, 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.

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