Friday, February 09, 2007

Turbines in the East River!

On Wednesday, I attended the Astoria/LIC Waterfront Allance meeting, and early on there was a representative/scientist from Verdant Power. She talked about the turbines being installed in the East River that generates electricity with the tides, which will be a source of green, renewable energy. From the flyer (dated 5/2006):
By July [2006], a Gristedes on Roosevelt Island should be drawing power from an unusual source - a turbine under the East River being driven bythye ebb and flow of the tides. A Virginia company, Verdant Power, has received the go-ahead to place the first two of six turbines in a channel of the East River to test whether they can generate electricity efficiently without disturbing the environment. One turbine will send power to the supermaket and a nearby parking garage. The other will house monitoring equipment to gauge performance. If all goes well, four more turbines will be installed soon for an 18-month test that could lead to 200-300 of the devices.

Well, the Gristedes is being powered already, and a number of volunteer groups have been formed to study the effects the turbines are having on the river, with regard to fish, birds, and recreation, to name a few. Also, they are going to see if the turbines affect sediment in the river. As of now, there is no sediment in the river because the water rushes by so quickly, but who knows if the turbines will slow things down, thereby creating sediment. Since the turbines have been put in, no fish have died as a result, which is good news (these turbines turn at 32 revolutions per minute, as opposed to conventional hydro-turbines, which turn at 600-700 rpm, so much safer). Eventually, if this test project succeeds, and all the turbines are installed, it could power 8,000-10,000 homes. Sounds good to me!

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