Today, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") issued its first pilot project license for a tidal energy project to Verdant Power, LLC for its Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy ("RITE") Project in New York’s East River (pictured at right).  As a first-of-its-kind license, this is a significant step for the burgeoning tidal energy industry in the United States.

According to the license, the project will be construted in three phases over a five year period.  When complete, the project will consist of thirty 35-kW, 5-meter-diameter axial flow Kinetic Hydropower System ("KHPS") turbines with a total installed nameplate capacity of 1.05 MW.  Verdant must begin construction on Phase 1 within the next two years and must complete Phase 3 within six years.  The license was issued for the full 10 years requested in Verdant’s license application.

Although the levelized cost of energy for the RITE project is high relative to other energy sources, the Commission stated clearly that "[t]his project’s value . . . lies in its successful testing and demonstration of Verdant’s KHPS turbine technology, and the project’s ability to raise the profile of, and advance, the emergent tidal energy industry." 

The license can be found on FERC’s website under Docket No. P-12611-005.

For more detailed information on the FERC pilot project licensing process, see Chapter 3 of our recently updated Law of Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy.