We’ve been closely following Verdant Power‘s tidal turbine tests in the East River, and on Monday, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission awarded the company the agency’s first license for a tidal-energy project. This is extremely exciting news, and it means that New York City’s grid could be getting power from the East River by next year! Verdant signed a 10-year contract for the 1,050-kilowatt turbine installation, officially called the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project, which is designed to bring power to nearly 10,000 New Yorkers on the residential island.

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The license Verdant received is the first-ever issued by the FERC for a tidal-energy project. It’s a pilot license, which will let Verdant test the environmental affects while demonstrating the commercial feasibility of the project. By the end of next year, five of the company’s three-blade Free Flow System turbines will be in place on the floor of the East River.  The turbines work similarly to wind turbines, as they capture the power of the tides just as wind turbines capture energy from air movement. A total of 30 generators will be installed by 2015. If the process is successful, Verdant will likely apply for a commercial license that could last longer than ten years.

According to Verdant, the RITE Project is the world’s first grid-connected system of tidal turbines, and we certainly hope that it’s paving the way for many more.

+ Verdant Power RITE Project

Via Bloomberg News