NYC Successfully Installs Tidal-Power Turbine in East River

September 21, 2008 at 4:48 pm Leave a comment

After two failed attempts, New York City has installed a new-and-improved aluminum alloy turbine in the East River, the only of its kind in the United States.

The turbine is the first of 300 which the city hopes to install in the waterway. Unlike the typical river which flows in a constant direction, the East River is a tidal straight with strong, fluctuating currents which allow for more efficient power generation. Once in place, the system could provide electricity to 10,000 households.
The city is desperate to create viable alternative energy solutions as power consumption continues to climb and transmission lines from power plants upstate struggle to keep up. The turbines are part of an ambitious plan to generate 80 percent of NYC’s electricity within city limits, including usage of wind, solar, and tidal energy.

The river power project was initially proposed in 2000 but was rejected by the state senate. After being accepted years later, the project still faced technology and research hurdles. The city has spent $2 million in the past few years studying the impact the turbines would have on local fish and bird populations, but so far it seems that the animals avoid the blades and escape harm. However, regulations state that the impact on the waterway’s animal life must be monitored continuously.

The first two attempts had their blades torn off by the strong currents, which is a testament to how much power stands to be harnessed from the river. Verdant Power, a small energy company hired for the job, said that this third version was thoroughly tested before being installed; so far it has worked, and is already powering a nearby supermarket. If the blades continue to hold together, the city should soon give further production and installation a green light.

by Alex Felsinger


Entry filed under: Dive In, Public Waterfront. Tags: , , , .

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