Free Flow System turbine being installed in East River, New York, NY (Dec 2006). | Image Credit: Kris Unger/Verdant Power, Inc.

As part of the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project, 30 turbines are being installed along the strait that connects the Long Island Sound with the Atlantic Ocean in the New York Harbor. The project, led by Verdant Power, Inc., is the first ever commercially licensed tidal energy project in the United States.

The turbines are scheduled to be fully installed by 2015 and will use the flow of the river and tides to generate 1,050 kilowatts of electricity -- this power will be delivered to 9,500 New York residents.

The turbines will also collect important data about environmental impacts on fish and river sediment and provide jobs to a team of technicians who will maintain and monitor the equipment.

The Energy Department helps advance water power technologies by funding research to determine the size of the water resource and by developing innovative technologies to unleash its energy potential. The Department began providing Verdant Power with funding in 2008 to improve the turbines’ blade design. Verdant had been successfully developing and testing turbine prototypes in the East River since 2002, but those turbine rotors were not durable enough to be scaled up for commercialization. With the Department’s assistance, Verdant designed and tested new blades, which are stronger and more reliable -- allowing them to capture more energy from faster currents at greater depths and at a lower cost.

This technological improvement represents progress for the entire tidal energy industry.

Department funding for innovative water power technologies is helping the United States to take advantage of its vast water power resources to generate clean energy and to bolster the renewable energy economy. As advanced marine and hydrokinetic technologies are responsibly deployed and new hydropower opportunities are seized, water resources could deliver 15 percent of our nation’s electricity supply by 2030. Visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Water Power Program to learn more about how marine and hydrokinetic technologies are generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from water resources.