I have done quite a few posts on wind turbines but this is the first one on water turbines. I was watching a TV program called "Big Ideas Small Planet" and one of their interviews was with Trey Taylor. His company in New York, Verdant Power, has developed a water turbine and has actually installed it in the East River, New York City, along the eastern shore of Roosevelt Island! New York has some amazing water currents and its awesome to see a company take advantage of that for renewable resource purposes. Its called the RITE project and Verdant is using a tidal-powered Kinetic Hydropower System (KHPS), which they developed and patented. The project is slated to eventually run rows and rows of water turbines in the East River generating enough renewable energy to supply power to 8,000 New York homes.
The RITE project was a first on many levels for Verdant Power. They are the first to deliver electricity to end-use customers using water to generate energy, the first to install a water turbine field, and first to install a water turbine field that is connected to the grid. At full capacity, the RITE project is delivering 10MW of power locally. I guess the reason I never put much thought into water turbines is there aren't very many rivers in the places I have lived. Its hot and flat in Texas (solar), very windy in San Francisco (wind), and hot and windy in Utah (both). But no rivers. But there are in New York and Verdant Power is taking advantage.
For those of you wondering about the fish issue, as of June 2007, there have been no fish fatalities in the building or maintenance of the RITE project...along with the water turbines, they set up environmental monitoring programs to discover the effect on fish. I mean, these things aren't moving as fast as wind turbines...they are slow and consistent, delivering a constant flow to the grid. So, the fish should be just fine. You know, another place with heavy currents is San Francisco Bay. It wouldn't surprise me to see water turbines in the Bay sometime soon!
++Verdant Power [website]