In the East River, Verdant Power Sleeps With the Fishes


One of Verdant Power's tidal turbines prior to installation in the East River.

Apparently, you have to read British newspapers to catch news about innovative environmental developments in New York City. The Guardian looks at Verdant Power, a small company that is working with the State to develop hydro-electric power right here in the East River.

The state is teaming up with a Virginia company to use the East River for a unique experiment in renewable energy: Six giant turbines are being placed underwater in a $7 million project to harness the energy of the tides and produce electricity. One of the 16-foot-diameter, windmill-like turbines is already operating, supplying power to a grocery store and a garage on Roosevelt Island. The other turbines are being installed over the next two weeks.

Hydroelectric and wind power operate on similar principles, with water or air turning turbines. But those projects require dams or windmills, which can be costly, intrusive and objectionable to environmentalists.

Project organizers say this is the first time the underwater-turbine concept has been used in the U.S.

Beth Fertig also did a story as part of WNYC's Feeling the Heat series, a couple of weeks ago.