The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recommended licensing Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project, proposed for installation in the East Channel of the East River in New York City. The proposed RITE Project would use the natural tidal currents of the East River to generate up to 1 megawatt (MW) of emission-free electricity via turbine generator units anchored on the riverbed. Verdant Power has proposed a three-phased development approach for the RITE Project, beginning in 2012. The pilot project is estimated to have an annual generation of 2.40 gigawatt-hours (GWh) after the completion of Phase 3. Verdant Power would install its 5th Generation Free Flow System through the proposed pilot project, an updated version of the technology previously demonstrated in the East River.
Verdant Power submitted its license application under FERC’s newly established Hydrokinetic Pilot Project Licensing Procedures, developed to allow for the advancement of US hydrokinetic technologies (tidal, river, wave power), while maintaining FERC oversight and agency input. FERC’s recommendation to license the project was based on its analysis of a variety of environmental and recreational monitoring measures proposed by Verdant Power and also included four additional staff modifications. If approved, the RITE Project would be the first tidal power plant licensed to transmit energy onto the national grid.
According to the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition (OREC), the leading trade organization for the US 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 (OEC) estimates the global potential for tidal power exceeds 63,000 MW.
Verdant Power’s RITE Project was initiated in 2002 with prototype system testing. 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 that showed no evidence of increased fish injury or mortality. Since its inception, the RITE Project has received major support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the US Department of Energy.