Underwater turbines to be tested in New York river

Avoiding the bickering over wind power and biofuels, a Virginia-based company is seeking clean energy in the watery deep. Within a few weeks, Verdant Power will submerge turbines in New York’s East River to draw energy from the tides. The first phase of the project will run for 18 months, with six turbines supplying energy to a nearby supermarket and parking garage; if this test run is successful, up to 300 improved turbines will be installed in 2010, enough to power 8,000 homes. This hydrokinetic or “in-stream” energy is an eco-friendly alternative to hydropower, wherein water is dammed and released. With watermills, “[f]ish and marine mammals can easily swim around,” says one researcher. During the test run, the turbines will be closely monitored to make sure our fishy friends are not harmed. Says Dean Corren of Verdant, “There’s no such thing as a 100 percent clean source of energy, but this is as close as you can get.”