Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference in New York City
April 18, 2008
NYSERDA President and CEO Address Innovative Energy Technologies with a Focus on Marine-based Renewable Energy
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s President and CEO, Paul D. Tonko addressed today the Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference in New York City. The conference was hosted by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Minerals Management Service, the Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition, and the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems Executive Committee. Mr. Tonko closed the conference with a speech focused on Innovative Energy Technologies with a Focus on Marine-based Renewable Energyand is provided below.
The conference focused on marine renewable energy technology and attracted U.S. and international based experts on wave and current power (tidal, ocean, and river currents) to exchange ideas on how to create a more sustainable energy future using these types of technologies as part of a diverse power generation portfolio. The dialogue included performance results of renewable technology demonstrations, evolution of permitting and siting in various countries, the most effective financing instruments in public subsidies, and understanding and mitigating potential environmental risks and future studies. Please visit Global Marine Renewable for more information on the conference.
Marine renewable energy is a cutting edge and emerging technology sector showing great promise and should be fully explored. Innovative systems that harness the energy of tides, river currents and other high volume flows have many attractive advantages. There are no emissions and the systems are predominately invisible and are virtually silent. These systems can be sited close to the user, which offers a tremendous supply solution for areas, such as New York City, that are geographically and grid constrained.
Speech given by Paul D. Tonko, President and CEO of NYSERDA, April 18, 2008
Global Marine Renewable Energy Conference
Good afternoon! i am pleased to join you today at this tremendous conference on marine renewable energy, and to offer closing remarks. As we take that glimpse into our renewable energy future, it’s very exciting to see the tremendous potential of marine energy generation in becoming a viable and very important part of our energy supply mix.
Quite clearly, we are faced with a myriad of critical energy and environmental issues. We are dangerously dependent on fossil fuels, which are often imported from some of the most trouble prone spots on the globe. Our energy costs are skyrocketing and crushing our families, businesses and farms. There is a continuing increase in the demand for electricity, which is driving the need for more supply. Harmful emissions are damaging the environment and a leading contributor to global warming.
The good news is that under the leadership of governor David Paterson, New York is committed to an energy revolution. This revolution will transform how we use energy, move us closer to energy independence, bolster our economy and clean our air; and the new York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, is working closely with the administration in virtually every facet of this effort.
To that transformative end, New York is looking to renewable energy and energy efficiency to help us solve our energy and environmental problems. Indeed, a large part of nyserda’s work and programs are centered on driving innovations and advanced technologies in these areas from concept to demonstration to deployment. as we do this, we not only address our energy and environmental challenges, but also spur a sustainable clean energy economy that will support the robust development, manufacture and deployment of renewable and efficiency technologies. And with these solutions and a new economy comes tremendous business and job growth opportunities.
Renewable sources of energy are a vital part of our energy solution. Investing in green energy sources will provide for a cleaner, more sustainable environment; lessen our dependence on oil; reduce our carbon footprint; serve as a critical foundation for economic growth and workforce expansion; broaden the clean energy supply; and, in concert with more efficient use of energy, place a downward pressure on price.
It is important to recognize that there is no single silver bullet technology to substitute for fossil fuels. As such, we must stimulate and support a diverse collection of renewable energy sources and technologies, including those that unlock the energy of tidal, ocean and river currents. We must continue to deploy current applications which include wind, solar generation and conventional hydropower. In the transportation sector, breakthroughs in hydrogen technology, fuel cells, bio-diesel and cellulosic ethanol are significant pieces of the solution which should be supported.
As New York and the nation develop renewable energy alternatives, we must aggressively implement and improve current technologies while sustaining research and development activities on emerging technologies.
Marine renewable energy is one such cutting edge and emerging technology sector which holds great promise and must be fully explored. Innovative systems that harness the energy of tides, river currents and other high volume flows have many tantalizing advantages. There are no emissions. The systems are predominately invisible and are virtually silent. Further, they can be sited close to the user, which offers a tremendous supply solution for areas, such as NYC, that are geographically and grids constrained, but are also faced with rapidly increasing demand. Indeed, the recent planyc report indicated that New York City population is at a current high of 8.2 million people, and is projected to dramatically grow to 9 million by 2030. Finally, environmental impact studies, while relatively young to-date, are thus far showing no impacts to marine life or diving birds. These studies are continuing.
At NYSERDA, we view emerging marine renewable energy technologies, such as kinetic hydropower, as particularly viable, and as having a prominent place in our renewable energy portfolio in the coming years. To that end, we are committed to helping to develop, advance and commercialize these experimental systems.
For example, we are working with verdant power on the Roosevelt Island tidal energy (rite) kinetic hydropower project, which is proving to be a very exciting and revealing demonstration project. Located in Manhattan’s east river, this was the first kinetic hydropower technology to deliver electric power to consumers in the United States. It is the first grid connected multi-turbine kinetic application and the first fully continuous, automatic and unattended tidal kinetic hydropower demonstration.
To date, the facility has logged over 7,000 turbine-hours of operation and generated over 40 MWH into the NYC electric grid. It is also enabling the demonstration of an innovative array of fixed hydro-acoustic sensors to monitor fish passage continuously. Utilizing an advanced open blade housing, fish that come in close proximity to the blades are able to freely swim away. So far, ecosystem studies related to this project are showing no impacts to marine or avian life.
The demonstration provided the opportunity not only to prove technologies, but to improve upon them. Last year, the project encountered turbine blade/rotor hub attachment failures. However, with analysis, a new design and testing, the problem was addressed and the system improved.
I am proud of nyserda’s partnership which began six years ago with phase one of the project. at that time, we provided funding for verdant’s barge-mounted proof-of-concept demonstration unit. since then, we have committed over $2.5 million to this project, including funds to commercialize the technology, which would enable New York manufacturers and vendors to produce and market the proven systems and components.
There are other opportunities in New York to develop and utilize marine renewable technology. For example:
NYSERDA assisted in a proof-of-concept study on advanced turbine technology. In the tidal flow off Shelter Island, near long island, tests were conducted on helical Gorlov Turbines that rotate in the same direction regardless of water flow direction, allowing the turbine to remain stationary. Moreover, this turbine design can be installed with its axis of rotation vertical or horizontal, enabling its use in shallow water flows.
several upstate communities on or close to flowing water sources are expressing interest in applying green kinetic hydropower technology for generating electricity to reduce their purchased power costs. NYSERDA is encouraging communities to submit project proposals under competitive solicitations to demonstrate 24/7 continuous generation from these renewable resources.
Further, we should look for opportunities to apply marine energy generation technologies to other areas where there are high volume flows. For example, the Catskill reservoir, which supplies water to NYC, has a large water flow. Using this technology, we could capture energy from the flow into NYC. We could even explore water treatment plants, which have high flow rates, as electric generation sources.
We must continue to invest in emerging renewable and clean energy technologies. as such, NYSERDA will soon be issuing another competitive solicitation to encourage new free flow power technologies. Marine renewable energy technologies are eligible. This will be a $12 million solicitation spread over two rounds in 2008. Please look for it on NYSERDA.
There really is great potential for advanced clean, renewable energy generation from our tidal, ocean and river currents. And as we perfect the cutting edge technologies in our rivers and oceans, we can adapt them to other venues which offer high volume flows.
Our oceans and waterways carry imports of oil from beyond our borders to our harbors so that we might heat our homes, fuel our businesses and power our farms–not to mention run our vehicles. Indeed, New York is 90% dependent on foreign oil. As the oil flows in, our dollars flow out. I believe that it is about time that we take back our waterways, transforming them from agents of energy dependence to agents of energy independence. In so doing, we loosen the stranglehold of our fossil fuel reliance and keep our dollars right here–growing jobs and the economy even as we clean our air and promise a greener earth to our next generations.
Perhaps some of the most inspirational components of the undeniable green and smart energy revolution are the building of community. For far too long, I have sensed the growing aspects of the “I” in society, where we have cocooned and withdrawn from essential partnerships. Our energy revolution enables us to respond by means of the “we” in us rather than the “I”. In so doing, our investments, our goals, our actions, our policies and our successes will be the catalyst to a much stronger expression of community–creating the optimum outcome we will build our communities, opportunities, energy agenda and grow green.
Colleen Q. Ryan
518-862-1090, Ext. 3359
Last Updated: 10/19/2012