In-stream power is getting another shot at commercial viability with a proposed installation in New York City. Verdant Power has applied for regulatory approval for an installation in New York's East River. Research installations have been tried here, as well as in Detroit and Minnesota.
If the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project is approved and installed, it would represent the first in-stream power installation connected to the commercial power grid. The project will expand the existing field of 6 full-scale research turbines in the East River to 30 turbines which would provide up to 1 megawatt of electrical power to the grid. RITE will utilize fifth-generation turbines, which Verdant has been developing and improving over the previous decade.
In-stream hydropower is appealing because it is less erratic than wind power, which depends on the weather. Part of Verdant's research has also been to investigate environmental effects of the turbines. Research has shown "no observed evidence of increased fish mortality or injury, nor any irregular bird activity in the project area. The data demonstrate that fish avoid zones of impact with Verdant Power’s system and populate inshore areas." These turbines will be more expensive to install and maintain than wind turbines, but the power can be generated close to the population centers where it will be used.
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