Iowa Public Television


Underwater Turbines Use Tides to Produce Electricity

posted on April 20, 2007

The East River around New York has the reputation of being a dumping ground for garbage and possibly even mobsters' bodies. But now the state is trying to change the image to one of producing clean energy.

Six giant turbines are being placed underwater in a $7 million project to harness the energy of the tides to produce electricity. One of the 16-toot-diameter, windmill-like turbines is already in operation, supplying power to a grocery store and a garage on Roosevelt Island.

New York and a Virginia company picked the East River because it is a tidal strait. Some environmentalists worry the project may harm fish by stirring up sediment or alternating habitat. But Verdant Power President Trey Taylor said the fish near the turbines are being monitored with sonar equipment, and the river bottom is mostly bedrock so no sediment is being churned up.

Project organizers say this is the first time the underwater-turbine concept has been used in the U.S.

Tags: electricity news water