The Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project

First US Grid-Connected Tidal Installation

The RITE Project

The RITE Project operated under a 10-year Hydrokinetic Pilot Project License from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Project No. P-12611) and a 401 Water Quality Certification from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It was the first commercially-licensed tidal power project in the United States. The project was successfully decommissioned in 2021 having achieved Technology Readiness Level 9.  

The Verdant Power 5-meter class tidal turbine system used in RITE achieved the highest standards:

Received the first third-party verification in the world of tidal turbine performance to international standards under the IECRE System.

Awarded National Hydropower Association’s 2021 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters (OSAW) Award for operation. 

Energy Generation at RITE

The East River is a tidal strait with strong water currents that change direction between flood and ebb tides approximately four times each day (with periods of little or no flow between tides, called “slack tide”). 

-As shown in the figure below, when the water velocity exceeds approximately 1.0 m/s (3.3 ft/s or 2 knots), the turbine blades begin to rotate and the units generate electricity for approximately 4.5 hours (red areas in figure). 

-As the tide shifts direction, the turbines yaw (turn approximately 170 degrees) to generate power from the current flowing in the opposite direction. This cycle repeats in a very predictable manner approximately every 6 hours. 

-The regular nature of tidal currents provides a significant advantage for tidal power as compared to other, less predictable resources like wind and solar power.

Proven Technology

For several years prior to the 2020 RITE project installation, Verdant Power conducted in-water testing of its turbine system, successfully demonstrating the technology as an efficient source of clean energy with the following outcomes:

  • Grid-connected power with no power quality problems
  • Fully bi-directional operation with high efficiency on both ebb and flood tides
  • Automatic control and continuous, unattended operation
  • No fouling or damage from debris

Operational and environmental monitoring data gathered through this demonstration formed the basis for Verdant Power’s application to FERC for its pilot license application.

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