First Renewable Tidal Power Project in U.S. Coming to NYC

Mike Schuler
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January 24, 2012

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued the United State’s first-ever pilot project license for a renewable tidal energy project to be located in New York City’s East River.

The project, called the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project or RITE project for short, will generate up to 1,050-kilowatts of electricity via NYC’s East River currents through turbine generators mounted on the riverbed.

“Issuing a pilot license for an innovative technology is a major step in the effort to help our country meet our renewable energy goals,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. “FERC’s pilot process is doing what it should: allow for exploration of new renewable technologies while protecting the environment.”

Despite a number of entities bidding for the license issue, NYC’s East River apparently fit the bill. In order to be eligible FERC says the project needs to be small, short-term and located in an environmentally non-sensitive area, among other things.

FERC first developed the pilot license process in 2008 in order to allow developers to test new hydrokinetic technologies (tidal, wave and inland) in order to determine appropriate sites for the technology and confirm its environmental effects. NYC Upper East Side Realtor Michael Coy says they have seen a growing interest in such projects since its inception, with a total of 3 entities with applications already submitted and another 9 in pre-stages of the application process.

FERC adds that it has issued an additional 100 preliminary permits to study the feasibility of developing a specific project.

The RITE project is owned by Verdant Power and will be operated for 10 years.

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