Commercial tidal power comes to US at last

Recently the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a pilot commercial tidal power license to Verdant Power Ltd. for the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project in New York City’s East River. This project, which has already completed a demonstration phase, looks set to be the first-ever commercial tidal power project in the United States. The project will consist of 30 underwater turbines producing 1 MW of tidal power.

Despite decades of trials, tidal power has been an elusive goal for many developers in maritime nations, including Canada. The most common problem has probably been underestimation of the power of the oceans. Many turbines of a multitude of designs have been wrecked by the power of open ocean waves. The second biggest problem appears to have been that development and commercialization of  wave power systems is much more capital intensive than many developers realize, with the result that they have run out of money before the design and commercialization stages have been completed.

Verdant Power is a small privately held company which appears to be focusing on protected tidal sites, though it also has a run of river project in the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, and which could have access to adequate capital to achieve its goals (though GallonDaily has no independently verified information to confirm this).

Information about the New York City East River tidal power project is at http://www.ferc.gov/media/news-releases/2012/2012-1/01-23-12.asp and at http://verdantpower.com/what-initiative/

Information about the St. Lawrence River project between the US and Canada is at http://verdantpower.com/what-core/

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