The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

The Power of the Tides

A pilot project in New York's East River is evaluating the use of underwater turbines to generate electricity. If the project bears fruit, the technology could have widespread applications. The effort, formally called New York's Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project, is being conducted by Verdant Power and the New York State Research & Development Authority.

As part of the project, Con Edison is using the electricity produced by the turbines to power a grocery store and parking garage on Roosevelt Island, which sits adjacent to midtown and upper Manhattan in the middle of the East River. With the project, three-bladed turbines from Verdant Power are used. Each turbine can generate from 16 to 32 kilowatts of electricity. In December, two turbines were put into place. One was pushed to its limit to gather operational data. Its blades collapsed. The other remains operational. And the companies plan to deploy about a half dozen more turbines in the spring. There is great interest in the in-stream power generation. The water current driven turbines offer some characteristics that might make them more appealing or more practical than some other renewable power sources. "Compared to other sources of distributed generation, this technology is not episodic," said Trey Taylor, president of Verdant Power. He noted that you can look at a tidal chart and know what the currents will be on any given day in the future. This means utilities using the technology would be able to predict and forecast exactly how much power they could derive on a regular basis from a group of turbines. That is not something that utilities can do with solar or wind generation systems, which depend on the weather conditions on any particular day. Additionally, the fact that the turbines are underwater eliminates a problem many wind generation projects have faced. To be precise, many wind projects around the country have encountered stiff local "not-in-my-backyard" resistance. Like wind[turbines], the underwater turbines still have to go through a licensing process. One aspect of the project will be to determine the environmental issues with using the technology, such as the impact of the turbines on marine life. New York's East River, thanks to its incredible currents, is turning out to be a great place to test in-stream hydropower generation. In a separate project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is in the early stages of developing a system that combines solar, wind, and tidal-power units. Another firm, Natural Currents Services, which develops hydro, tidal, and ocean energy systems, will build the hybrid plant, according to the New York Post. The Technology's Potential Underwater turbines can be driven by currents in oceans, rivers, and even canals. The energy produced by tides or in-stream currents driving an underwater turbine is called dam-less, small-scale, or kinetic hydropower. There are many regions of the United States that are well suited to using this technology including most major rivers and areas with strong ocean tides, such as the northeast, Pacific northwest, particularly in the Puget Sound, parts of Alaska and California, particularly in the Golden Gate area. Additionally, there are many other places where the technology could be useful. For instance, underwater turbine technology "could enable economic in-stream hydropower generation from free-flowing sources of water, such as canals, waste water treatment plant outfalls, power plant cooling towers and ocean tides," according to the financial industry research firm SNL Financial. SNL Financial adds that the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that U.S. rivers could generate 30,000 megawatts using this in-stream technology and the devices could potentially produce another 10,000 megawatts from industrial flows and canals. Interest in these forms of power generation is gaining industry appeal. The Electric Power Research Institute has recently published a number of reports and is involved with a number of tidal and in-stream energy-generation projects. Salvatore Salamone is a guest editor for Energy Central's, EnergyBiz Insider. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2007 issue of EnergyBiz magazine and is republished with permission from CyberTech, Inc. EnergyBiz Insider is published three days a week by Energy Central. For more information about Energy Central, or to subscribe to EnergyBiz Insider, other e-newsletters and EnergyBiz magazine, please go to
Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now


First U.S. Grid-Connected OTEC Plant Goes Live on Hawaii

Andrew Burger Hawaii Governor David Ige on Aug. 21 joined executives from the Office of Ocean Naval Research (ONR), Makai Ocean Eng...

Makai Builds Ocean Thermal-Energy Demo Plant With U.S. Navy

Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg

Makai Ocean Engineering Inc. has built an ocean thermal-energy conversion demonstration plant in Hawaii.

Renewable Energy Gains Greater Opportunity in US Clean Power Plan

Elisa Wood After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stron...

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking p...


US Solar Institute Chosen for Military Solar Training at Patrick Air Force Base

In August 2015, the Air Force chose The US Solar Institute (USSI) for a specialized sol...

Solar Power World Ranks Florida Solar One a Top 400 Solar Installer

Florida Solar One, a Miami Fort Lauderdale solar contractor is ranked among the top sol...

AWS Truepower Makes Wind Project Design More Effective with Less Effort with New Openwind® Version

AWS Truepower, LLC, an international leader in renewable energy consulting and informat...

Niner Wine Estates Powers 100 Percent of Winery Operations with REC Solar

The 388 KW solar system installed by REC Solar will pay for itself in approximately fiv...


Clean Energy Collective to use First Solar Panels in Community Solar

Today (Oct. 13) First Solar and Clean Energy Collective (CEC) announced a new partnership today under which First Sol...

Geothermal Visual: GEA, Clean Energy Organizations Tell Congress: We Need Tax Extenders 'As Soon As Possible'

In a letter dated Oct. 5, over 580 signatories representing clean energy industries, including Geothermal Energy Asso...

It's All About The Why

Why do people buy your product or service? This is a question that you should keep in your mind at all times and remi...



Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



International Energy and Sustainability Conference 2015

The fourth International Energy and Sustainability Conference will be he...

2015 AREDAY Summit

The 12th Annual AREDAY Summit, August 8-13th in Snowmass Colorado. Engag...

StartUp Green

AREI, American Renewable Energy Institute, in partnership with ...


Clean Energy Patents Maintain High Levels in First Quarter, Solar L...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies from the first quarter of 201...

SAP for Utilities Blog

The Eventful Group produces the annual SAP for Utilites Conference ...

Renewables make huge strides globally in 2014

Renewable sources of energy are making an increasing impact on the globa...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now