The RITE Project (East River, NYC)
Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project is located in the East Channel of the East River, which is a tidal strait connecting the Long Island Sound with the Atlantic Ocean in the New York Harbor. Verdant Power has conducted prototype and pre-commercial testing of its Free Flow System at the RITE Project, as well as groundbreaking regulatory and environmental monitoring that has advanced the US marine energy industry.
First US Commercial License for Tidal Power
Because of its groundbreaking nature, the RITE Project has oftentimes served as the catalyst and venue for the advancement of regulatory processes supporting the US marine energy industry. For example, in 2005 Verdant Power petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to conduct a demonstration of its Gen4 Free Flow System at the RITE Project. This would represent the first grid-connected operation of a tidal turbine array in the world and no US regulatory processes were in place for such type of activity. Ultimately, FERC allowed Verdant to operate the system as a demonstration in order to gather the operational and environmental monitoring data necessary to apply for a federal permit. This ruling, entitled the 'Verdant order', set a precedent for the marine energy industry and paved the way for the variety of demonstration efforts that have followed in the US.
Based on the data collected through a demonstration of the Gen4 Free Flow System at RITE, Verdant Power submitted its application for a FERC Hydrokinetic Pilot Project License - a streamlined licensing procedure developed by FERC specifically for marine energy technologies. And on January 23, 2012, FERC issued Verdant Power a 10-year license to install up to 1 MW of power (30 turbines/10 TriFrames) at the RITE Project, making it the first commercially-licensed tidal power project in the US.
RITE Project Boundary Map
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Generation 4 Free Flow System Demonstration
During 2006-09, Verdant Power completed a grid-connected demonstration of the Free Flow System (Gen4) at the RITE Project. The demonstration included the operation of six full-scale tidal turbines, which delivered electricity to operating New York City businesses, representing the world’s first operation of a grid-connected array of tidal turbines.
Through the effort, Verdant Power successfully demonstrated the Free Flow System as an efficient source of clean renewable energy with the following outcomes:
Grid-connected power to two commercial end users
Fully bidirectional operation – passive yawing with high efficiency on both ebb and flood tides
Automatic control and continuous, unattended operation
No fouling or damage from debris
9,000 turbine-hours of operation
Operational and environmental monitoring data gathered through this demonstration formed the basis for Verdant Power's application to FERC for its pilot license application, as well as advancement to the Generation 5 (Gen5) commercial class system.
Energy Generation at RITE
The East River is a tidal strait, with strong water currents that change direction between flood and ebb tides approximately four times each day (with periods of little or no flow between tides, called “slack tide”). As shown in the figure below, when the water velocity exceeds approximately 1.0 m/s (3.3 ft/s or 2 knots), the Free Flow System turbine blades begin to rotate and the units generate electricity for approximately 4 hours (red areas in figure). As the tide shifts direction, the turbine yaws (turns approximately 180 degrees on its pylon) to generate power from the current flowing in the opposite direction. This cycle repeats in a very predictable manner approximately every 6 hours.
Gen4 Turbine Installation at RITE