Tidal turbines in New York’s East River halted temporarily for repairs

The company experimenting with underwater electricity turbines in New York’s East River has found that the river’s currents are powerful. Too powerful, if you want to get picky about it: the river sheared off several blades on the 20-foot-tall turbines, and has stressed the bolts on the replacement blades as well. In fact, Virginia-based Verdant Power has shut down the six turbines temporarily, for repairs and a bit of tweaking. “The only way for us to learn is to get the turbines into the water and start breaking them,” says Verdant founder Trey Taylor. Adds Mollie Gardner, a geologist with the company, “the good thing is that there’s more power in the East River than we thought.” The other good news is that studies so far have shown that fish caught on sonar are smart enough to swim around the blades. Eventually, Verdant plans to install up to 300 turbines in the river, which could power 8,000 homes; meanwhile, a competitor has gotten a federal permit to try out the East River as well.