FERC licenses NYC tidal power plant

Written by Nick Blenkey

verdantpowerThe U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued the first license for a U.S. tidal power plant  to transmit energy onto the local and national grid. The pilot commercial license allows Verdant Power to construct, operate, and maintain its Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project  in the East Channel of the East River in New York City. 

The RITE Project will use the natural tidal currents of the East River to power tidal energy turbines that will generate up to 1 megawatt (MW) of emission-free electricity in a three-staged development approach, beginning in 2013.  The RITE pilot project is estimated to have an annual generation of 2.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) after the completion of Phase 3.

Verdant Power, will install its fifth Generation Free Flow System, an updated version of the technology previously demonstrated in the East River.

Verdant Power’s license application was submitted under FERC’s Hydrokinetic Pilot Project Licensing Process, developed to allow for the advancement of U.S. hydrokinetic technologies (tidal, river, wave power), while maintaining FERC oversight and agency input.  FERC’s issuance of the license for the RITE Project is based on its analysis of a variety of monitoring measures proposed by Verdant Power that protect and enhance fish, wildlife, recreational, public safety, cultural, and aesthetic resources at the project

According to the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, a trade organization for the U.S. marine and hydrokinetic energy industry, the potential for such projects is up to 3,000 MW of installed capacity by 2025 – enough to power more than three million homes.  The Ocean Energy Council estimates the global potential for tidal power exceeds 63,000 MW. Maybe include OREC web link.

Verdant Power says the issue of the RITE license is “the culmination of years of technology advancement beginning in 2002 with prototype system testing, and initial RITE project consultations.”

During 2006-08, Verdant Power demonstrated a full-scale grid-connected Free Flow System at the project, successfully delivering energy to operating businesses in New York City. This effort represented the world’s first grid-connected array of tidal energy turbines. Verdant Power also conducted environmental monitoring of the Free Flow System during the RITE demonstration, developing significant environmental data. The RITE Project has received major support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).  Other project funding has been received from the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

January 24, 2012

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