by Worldchanging NY blogger, Mark Caserta:
The term hydropower tends to evoke images of large hydroelectric dams, born from some massive public works project during a bygone era, right? The truth is that hydropower can also refer to something much smaller and more eco-friendly --and New York City is currently host to two of them. Didn't know that? Well, that's because they are under the East River, near Roosevelt Island.
It seems that back in December 2006, an innovative energy company known as Verdant Power planted two state-of-the art turbines in the East River. They spin with the ebb and flow of the river's tides, turning the water's boundless energy into electricity (as long as dead bodies don't get stuck in the blades). Eventually, Verdant hopes to generate as much as 10 megawatts in the East River, and 500 megawatts statewide, with the help of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York University.
There are some concerns in the eco-community that the turbines could hurt aquatic life or disturb fish breeding grounds. But for the time being it's pretty clear that this new form of clean energy is a lot better for the East River than the usual stuff that flows off the streets of the city on a daily basis.
While ten megawatts is a small amount of energy in the scheme of things, it's a start. We probably won't be cozying up to a movie like The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou with the help of these little East River turbines any day soon, but hey -- we can dream!
What's up from West Virginia!