Overcoming Hurdles with Perseverance in Tidal Power

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Start-ups, hoping to carve a niche for themselves in a sector like tidal power, need to show resilience. And New York-based Verdant Power exemplifies this with its approach.

Marine renewable energy solutions company Verdant Power is currently in the process of optimising its technology for commercial distribution.

In May this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a public notice stating that it concluded the pre-filing process related to Verdant Power's application for a commercial license. The next step in the application process for Verdant Power was to submit its final license application. The company has been seeking license to commercially develop the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project.

"We have applied for our commercial license with the FERC, which we expect to receive in early 2010," says Trey Taylor, co-founder & president of the New York-based privately held company.

This will be for the beginning of Verdant's Third Phase - commercial build-out - starting with 1 MW of installed capacity.

"Consequently, the current regulatory processes are being streamlined in the US, thanks to FERC's progressive attitude toward, and support for, tidal energy technology. However, the business environment in the US seems to be lagging behind the UK and Canada, for example," says Taylor, who is scheduled to speak at the forthcoming 3rd International Tidal Energy Summit 2009. http://www.tidaltoday.com/info/7

The company also has other projects underway, in addition to the RITE Project: there is the US Navy tidal energy project in Washington State's Puget Sound; and the Cornwall Ontario River Energy (CORE) Project in Canada's St. Lawrence River.

RITE project

Initiated in 2002, Verdant Power's RITE Project is being operated in New York City's East River. In three phases, the RITE Project will test, demonstrate and deliver commercial electricity from Verdant Power's Free Flow Kinetic Hydropower System (tidal).

On the plans for the east channel of the East River (RITE East Channel Pilot) and the west channel (RITE West Channel Pilot), Taylor said Verdant's license application is for the east channel of the East River and will be for 30 (5-meter rotor/35 kW generator) turbines for a total of 1 MW installed tidal energy capacity.

The company has a preliminary permit from FERC to study the west channel of the East River that could potentially support as much as 4 MW of installed tidal energy capacity.

"However, because the water depths in the west channel are deeper, we may use larger rotors and generators," Taylor told Tidal Today.


After two unsuccessful attempts, it was only via a third design, attempted last year, in which Verdant Power managed favourable results.

In fact, a media report also highlighted that tidal power isn't for the faint-hearted as it requires perseverance at this stage for the sector to reach its potential.

Sharing Verdant's experience, Taylor said, "Our attempts were really nothing more than improving the strength of our rotors, the first attempt broke blades, the second attempt broke hubs."

The new rotor (blades and hub) were successfully tested at the US DoE's National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado and re-installed in September 2008.

"Our array of grid-connected turbines generated more than 80 MWh and logged-in more than 9,000 operational hours," said Taylor.


Verdant begins all projects by starting with the communities. And, there are several of these, such as residential and maritime communities.

"We seek their buy-in early, so that they are very much a part of the project. It is a collaborative process based on transparency," Taylor said.

Taylor is scheduled to speak about why his company chose East River as a prime location for their tidal deployment in the US, benefits river current deployments hold in terms of O&M and decommissioning of tidal devices in contrast with deeper water locations and other critical issues.

3rd International Tidal Energy Summit 2009

Trey Taylor is scheduled to speak at the forthcoming 3rd International Tidal Energy Summit 2009 in London this year (November 17-18).

For more information, click here:

or Contact: Abbie Badcock - abbie(at)tidaltoday.com or 44 (0)207 375 7581


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Abbie Badcock
Tidal Today
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