March 26 - New York City, one of the hungriest consumers of energy in the world, is going green with a project designed to capture tidal energy from the city's East River. The project is the first of its kind in the United States and if successful, could herald a revolution in sustainable, marine-based energy production. Tara Cleary reports.
==REESENDING WITH UPDATEDTHUMBNAIL IMAGE== INew York City, with a population of more than eight milion, has an insatiable appetite for power, satisfied mainly with electricity generated by the burning of fossil fuels. But down by the city's East River, a green alternative is emerging. It's an energy experiment using turbines to harness the force of the tides sweeping up and down the river. The company behind the project is Verdant Power, co-founded by Trey Taylor. SOUNDBITE: TREY TAYLOR, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, VERDANT POWER, SAYING (English): "The water current flows from this direction through to these rotors that are downstream. And underneath we have a device that allows the turbine then to turn. So as the tide shifts and comes around, the turbine will then swing to get it in the opposite direction. And as this rotor's turning, it then generates power into a generator and the generator then comes down and takes the power to shore." And Taylor says the advantage of generating energy through tidal movement is its reliability. SOUNDBITE: TREY TAYLOR, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, VERDANT POWER, SAYING (English): "So a Con Ed for example, the distributor of power, they can look at their clocks or tidal chart and they know exactly when power's coming on or going off. So as a form of distributed generation right in New York City close to where the power is needed, it's ideal." Verdant Power's research started in 2002 on Roosevelt Island - a tiny East River land mass wedged between Manhattan and Long Island. Ten years on, the company now has a commercial license for the project - the first such permit in the country and proof says Kit Kennedy, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, that the government is serious about alternative energy. SOUNDBITE: KIT KENNEDY, COUNSEL, AIR AND ENERGY PROGRAM, NEW YORK, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL (NRDC) SAYING (English): "We do have a tremendous potential on our coasts for wave power, for tidal power, and there's a lot of interest in seeing if we can demonstrate it and scale it up." Taylor says that one of the secrets behind the project's potential success is the power of the East River, a tidal straight connecting Long Island Sound with the Atlantic Ocean. SOUNDBITE: TREY TAYLOR, CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, VERDANT POWER, SAYING (English): "You have a tremendous current sort of flowing through here with the tide. It's not the rise and fall of the tide, it's the water current that comes through. And by putting very strong, robust rotor machines into this water, and eventually we'll put thirty of those machines here in the water, then we'll be able to produce electricity by using that water current in both the ebb, in other words the tide flowing out, and the flood, the tide coming in." The tidal turbine system could potentially work all over New York State where there are similar conditions to those in the East River. In many ways the project is a test bed. Taylor says that if some of the power needed for the state's more than 19 million people could come from a predictable, sustainable source, it could make waves across the entire United States. Tara Cleary, Reuters.