This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 20, 2005

FERC: No Hydropower License Required for N.Y. Tidal Power Test

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced on April 13th that a proposed 18-month test of tidal energy turbines in New York City's East River does not require a hydropower license, but does require the necessary federal, state, and local permits. Verdant Power proposes to test six underwater turbines to determine their potential impacts on the environment and to study their performance. By 2007, Verdant Power plans to install 494 21-kilowatt turbines in the river near Roosevelt Island to form the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Hydropower Project, which will have a total capacity of about 10.4 megawatts. See the FERC press release and Verdant Power Web site.

A similar tidal current project is planned for Canada's Race Rock Ecological Reserve, off the coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The project received a $3 million grant from the EnCana Environmental Innovation Fund and is expected to start producing power in early 2006. See the EnCana Corporation press release (PDF 106 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

Photo of the Wave Dragon getting slammed by a wave on stormy seas under a grey sky.

The Wave Dragon, a wave energy prototype, takes a beating during a January storm.
Credit: Wave Dragon

In other ocean energy news, a prototype wave power generator was launched in Australia in late March. Called the CETO wave energy converter, the device is mounted on the seabed floor and uses the pressure of passing waves to pump seawater into an onshore reservoir. A conventional hydropower turbine then generates power as the water returns to the sea. According to Pacific Hydro Ltd., one of the project developers, the seawater could also be pumped through reverse osmosis filters to produce fresh water. The seabed mounting is meant to avoid battering of the device by the ocean, as recently happened to another wave energy prototype, the Wave Dragon. After 21 months at sea in a Danish fjord called Nissum Bredning, the Wave Dragon prototype broke its mooring and blew ashore during a rough January storm. The company later towed the device to harbor and is modifying it for redeployment. See the Pacific Hydro press release (PDF 14 KB) and the Wave Dragon Web site.