Getting Water Power Up To Speed For Mainstream Acceptance & Use | WAMC

Getting Water Power Up To Speed For Mainstream Acceptance & Use

May 18, 2012

"Hydrokinetic Generation" could set the stage for the next battle pitting environmentalists against the state of New York - Science, Government and business leaders came together Thursday at the Beacon Institute, attending a workshop all about recommending improvements to the permitting process for hydrokinetic power generation in New York State. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Hydrokinetic power is a renewable energy source generated by underwater turbines set in motion by the flow of rivers, ocean currents, waves or tides. Gregory Lampman is a project manager with the Environmental Monitoring Evaluation and Protection program at NYSERDA. He explains that The Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project has been testing turbines in New York City's East River since 2006. Lampman says the turbines pose no danger to passing ships.

Currently there is a limited number of tidal energy projects in place around the world:  none of them are producing commercially available electricity at this time. But that's about to change: The Maine Public Utilities Commission has given three utilities the green light to pursue the first long-term power purchase agreements for tidal energy that will see hydrokinetic power introduced to the grid as early as this summer.

Rob Friedman with the Patrol Boat and Water Quality Program at  Riverkeeper promises the organization will continue to monitor the budding technology -  John Cronin is a senior fellow at the Beacon Institute - he says that prior to commercial deployment of horizontal turbines in the Empire State, there is a need to develop clear concise policy.

The nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute has estimated that new hydrokinetic technologies in the Continental United States could provide an increase in generation capacity of 3,000 megawatts by 2025.