NYC's Green Energy Plans Hindered By Tides

August 14, 2007 05:17 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
New York's attempts to use the East River's commanding tides to generate "green" electricity have hit a snag, as malfunctions and damage force developers to reconsider their design.

30 Second Summary

The United States generates most of its electricity from coal-fired plants, natural gas, and hydroelectric dams. Unfortunately, these energy sources are particularly hard on the environment.

With the energy industry investing increasing amounts in renewable resources such as wind and solar power, New York has decided to experiment with a different green technology: underwater turbines.

The technology works similarly to wind and hydroelectric power, but uses the river’s currents, rather than wind or channeled dam water, to turn the turbines’ blades. While the former energy sources require the construction of obtrusive windmills and dams, the turbines in the East River are completely submerged and thus hidden from view.

Unfortunately, the East River's formidable tides have proven too powerful for the first round of turbines developed by the Virginia-based company Verdant Power, who have had to remove their six turbines for repair and redesign. Although the setbacks seem to have taken some of the luster off the green energy project, Verdant says it's all part of working the kinks out of this new technology.

New York’s underwater experiment highlights the increasing willingness of state governments to invest in “green” energy, as worries over the effects of global warming spur more and more states to set quotas for renewable energy sources.



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Reference Material

The Verdant Power Company’s Web site offers models and descriptions of its underwater windmills. The site also offers pictures of its turbines and the New York tests from 2003.

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