Regulatory & Permitting
The RITE Project (East River - New York, NY)
Since 2002, Verdant Power has worked closely with local and federal natural resource agencies and other local stakeholders through the permitting processes required to develop the RITE Project in the East River. Because of its ground-breaking nature, the RITE Project has oftentimes served as the catalyst and venue for the formulation of new permitting and licensing processes for the emerging US MHK industry.
In 2005, Verdant Power petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to conduct a grid-connected demonstration of its Gen4 KHPS at the RITE Project site. Ultimately, FERC allowed Verdant Power to conduct the demonstration before obtaining a federal permit as the effort was solely for demonstration purposes and would not result in the commercial sale of electricity. This ruling, entitled the "Verdant" order, set a precedent for the MHK industry and paved the way for the variety of MHK demonstration efforts that have followed, helping to advance the sector in the US.
Having gathered operational data through its demonstration at RITE, Verdant Power submitted its application for a FERC Hydrokinetic Pilot Project License - a streamlined licensing procedure developed by FERC specifically for emerging MHK technologies. A copy of Verdant Power's application (December 2010) can be downloaded here.
On January 23, 2012, Verdant Power was issued a 10-year Hydrokinetic Pilot Project License from FERC and a Water Quality Certification permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to operate the RITE Project. These authorizations make the RITE Project the first commercially-licensed tidal power project in the US.
As part of its licensing requirements, and working with local and federal natural resource agencies, Verdant Power is in the process of executing a comprehensive set of monitoring and safeguard plans to ensure the safe operation of the RITE Project. The RITE Monitoring of Environmental Effects (RMEE) Plans will be conducted throughout the phased development of the RITE Project to observe the interaction of aquatic species with the natural environment, particularly as the project grows to include larger arrays of operating turbines.
These plans are extensions of prior RITE monitoring reports, which showed no evidence of negative impact to the local environment during system demonstrations. For more information on the RMEE Plans, please see Verdant Power's FERC license application for the RITE Project, Volume 4, available for download here.
The following provides a summary of the natural environment in the
RITE Project area.
The East River supports a variety of resident and migrating aquatic species, including winter flounder, Atlantic tomcod, striped bass, bay anchovy and American eel. The two relatively common fish species are the Atlantic silverside and northern pipefish.
East River tidal currents are semi-diurnal, with two flood and ebb periods per tidal day (24.84 hours). Flood and ebb currents are of opposite direction, but with similar current velocity profiles. The maximum tidal current velocity in the project area is approximately 2.7 m/s.
A variety of birds inhabit the area, with some using the East River for feeding or resting. Dominant species are the double-crested cormorant and a variety of gulls.
Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species
Two federally-listed endangered fish species, the shortnose sturgeon and the Atlantic sturgeon, are known to traverse the area. The threatened green turtle and loggerhead turtle, and the endangered Kemp’s ridley turtle and leatherback turtle may be present in the area. The Biological Assessment for the RITE Project rated the probability for interaction with these species to be low. However, as part of its monitoring, Verdant Power will continue to observe and report any interaction between these species and the project during operation.
Geology and Soils
The majority of the East Channel floor is dominated by boulder/cobble substrates, with placed rip-rap lining the banks.
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US Department of Energy Selects Verdant Power under $10.5 Million Award for Next-Generation Marine Energy Systems
(December 2015) -- Verdant Power is one of six organizations selected by the US Energy Department to receive up to $10.5 million to support the design and operation of innovative MHK systems through survivability and reliability-related improvements. More >>