Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Design a Multi-turbine Hydropower System:Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project Phase IIA - System Design and Test(ST7874-1)

Verdant Power


New electrical generating facilities are needed in downstate metropolitan New York City and Long Island where there is limited existing transmission for importing additional power. The construction and operation of new fossil-fueled generating plants in these areas would exacerbate pollutant emissions and contribute to greenhouse gas carbon dioxide production. Generating plants using biomass or municipal waste as fuel, which are greenhouse gas neutral, still emit particulates and hazardous gases. Solar power is expensive, only available during daylight hours, and energy production is reduced on cloudy days. Wind energy is intermittent, unpredictable, and increasingly exposed to siting opposition. Tidal flow in the vicinity of New York City and Long Island may offer a predictable source of non-polluting renewable energy. Under a previous NYSERDA project with Verdant Power, LLC, a ten-day in-stream tidal energy demonstration of a kinetic hydropower system (KHPS) was carried out in the East River near Roosevelt Island. The project employed a single 10–foot diameter, three-bladed axial propeller, proof-of-concept turbine to generate electric power from the reversing tidal flow. This project will continue with the technology development and permitting for eventually installing a 10 MW underwater renewable kinetic hydropower field at Roosevelt Island.

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Project Description

The Contractor will design a 100 - 150 kW in-stream generating system using axial turbines having propeller diameters of 16 feet. A single prototype 30 kW turbine will be constructed and tested at the East River site. Performance results will be evaluated and used to modify the multi-turbine design as necessary. A streamlined Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing procedure is to be developed with FERC staff and other permitting agencies. Environmental studies required for licensing will be identified.


KHPS technology uses an energy resource that is renewable, sustainable, and indigenous, consumes no fossil or imported fuels, creates no pollutants or greenhouse gases, does not require dams or impoundments, has predictable and dispatchable power production, and is scalable. Commercial acceptance of the technology would result in a new manufacturing business with employment opportunities.

Project Results

The project resulted in the manufacturing and installation of the first two test 5-meter (~16 ft) KHPS turbines in the East River on December 11 and 12 of 2006. This demonstration and test represented the world’s first grid-connected kinetic hydropower turbine delivering electricity to an end user: Gristede’s Supermarket. This installation was preceded by detailed site analysis of the east channel of the East River near Roosevelt Island in New York City, as well as obtaining three project permits for the installation and operation of a six turbine field at the site. Project permits were issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the New York State Office of General Services’ Lands Underwater Program. The U.S. Army Corps and the NYSDEC permits required ongoing environmental monitoring during turbine operations.


Verdant Power
888 Main Street, Suite 1
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044

Principle Investigator

Ron Smith

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Development

Technologies Types:

Energy Power Supply

NYSERDA Contact Information

James Foster


R&D -Transport & Power Systems

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST7874-1

Last Updated: 1/26/2012