Verdant Power Gets Approval To Proceed With Roosevelt Island East River Turbine Project - Comprehensive Green Energy Plan For Roosevelt Island Needed Says Former RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin
You Tube Video Of Verdant Power East River Energy Project
An update on previous posts regarding Verdant Power Roosevelt Island East River Tidal Energy project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced yesterday:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued its first pilot project license for a tidal energy project located in New York City’s East River.According to Green Tech Media:
The project, owned by Verdant Power and known as the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project, is 1,050-kilowatts and uses the East River’s natural tidal currents to generate electricity. Turbine generator units are mounted on the riverbed and capture energy from the tidal flow. The pilot license issued to Verdant Power is for 10 years.
“Issuing a pilot license for an innovative technology is a major step in the effort to help our country meet our renewable energy goals,” FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said. “FERC’s pilot process is doing what it should: allow for exploration of new renewable technologies while protecting the environment.”
FERC developed the pilot license process in 2008 to allow developers to test new hydrokinetic technologies, to determine appropriate sites for these technologies and to confirm the technologies’ environmental effects without compromising FERC’s oversight....
... About ten years in the making, the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project is owned by Verdant Power and looks to mount turbines on the riverbed and use tidal currents to generate about a megawatt of electricity. The project will use up to 30 of Verdant's turbines, installed in stages.The RITE two end users were the Motorgate parking garage and Gristedes supermarket.
The license allows Verdant Power to build out the RITE Project and to commercially deliver the energy generated by the turbines to local customers. Earlier phases of the project involved prototype testing from 2002 to 2006 and demonstration from 2006 to 2008. During the demonstration period, Verdant operated six full-scale turbines and delivered 70 megawatt-hours of energy to two end users in 9,000 turbine-hours of operation with no fouling or damage to the turbines from debris....
A few days prior to yesterday's Verdant RITE Project announcement, former Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director Jonathan Kalkin shared these ideas regarding future Roosevelt Island energy usage:
Roosevelt Island needs a comprehensive green energy plan. The Island has grappled with many issues that threaten the purpose and mission of this place. Energy and how we use it is really something that we have saved for another day while some larger issues were addressed. However I believe we have reached a moment and an opportunity where we can dramatically change the lives of every resident on the Island. Long term affordable housing has been an issue on this Island since the Mitchell-Lama clock has started ticking. However, a long term affordable housing plan will not be able to overcome the reality that we heat, cool, and power our homes in an inefficient way.This is also bad for the environment and thanks to modern solutions completely unnecessary. This creates the scenario of an affordable home without affordable power. A person should not lose their home because they can’t afford their electric bill.According to Fast Company Co Design, the Cornell Technion Roosevelt Island campus will have a net zero energy footprint:
Currently, most buildings on Roosevelt Island use electricity to provide heat. This system uses electricity to heat a coil in your unit which then heats your apartment. At first this sounds like a good method, but it is very inefficient. In fact it is probably one of the most expensive and inefficient ways to heat your apartment. It is basically just like heating your apartment using a hair dryer. There are three major goals when using energy. First is to waste the least amount of energy to heat, light, and cool your home. The second goal is to do it in the cleanest way possible. The final goal, hopefully in pursuit of the first two goals, results in a lower utility bill. The good news is that on Roosevelt Island we have options to achieve all three goals.
We can achieve part of the first goal by producing our own energy. The hospitals on the island produce their own heat via the steam plant,
Image of Roosevelt Island Steam Plant From Michael Minn
the Octagon produces heat and electricity via a fuel cell and even Motorgate has become partially independent by using tidal energy. Most of the other buildings rely on electric heat and are at the mercy of whatever rate Con Edison charges for electricity. In the 1970’s electricity was cheap and so this may have made sense at the time. Now, electricity prices in New York are some of the most expensive in the country and having electric heat is the equivalent of taking showers with bottled water. The most efficient way to meet our energy goals would be to have a central energy source for the Island. Or, we could adopt the same method as the Octagon fuel cell and each building or set of buildings could have its own energy plant near the building.
The Octagon, A Case Study for Fuel Cells in Multi-Family Buildings from Bill Kavanagh on Vimeo.
The second way we can reduce energy waste would be to find another way to heat and cool our homes. One method that has worked in New York and in Europe is called district energy. This approach uses hot and cold water in pipes distributed throughout the building to warm and cool the apartments. This hot and cold water is generated at a centrally located plant that supplies several buildings.
The next step to achieve these goals would be to combine our heat and power production (CHP). Most power plants produce a large amount of excess heat during electricity production. Most of this heat is usually wasted, but if you distribute it throughout the island you now are producing electricity and powering your lights, perhaps running your air conditioning (if not using chilled water to do so) and heating your apartment mostly with the excess heat usually wasted in energy production.
You Tube Video on District Heating
Now this all seems very simple and will benefit both landlords and tenants and RIOC so why now and why hasn’t this come about before? Well, there are several things needed to move this forward. If we are using a distributed model where all the buildings have an energy source like the Octagon then each building can move at its own pace. However, the most efficient way would have some cooperation with RIOC and hopefully the new university that is coming to the Island. The good news is that Cornell has shown an interest in a green energy plan for the Island in their proposal and the RFP's 100 million dollar infrastructure plan talks about the natural gas and other energy changes that would be needed to sustain a world class university. This kind of infrastructure is crucial because we lack the natural gas supply to move this kind of project forward.
RIOC controls most of the land that can make this possible. The steam plant’s land is controlled by RIOC and this could be a great opportunity for RIOC to fulfill its development mission and affordable housing preservation goals at the same time. The university could simply provide the infrastructure and oversight of the project and would have to make just minor changes to its natural gas expansion plans. This energy plan could be supplemented by renewable and experimental projects (Solar, Geothermal) from the university in addition to our own like tidal energy.
Even if a university did not come to the Island, we should not ignore this opportunity. The landlords want to reduce their energy costs. Tenants need this to happen to preserve affordability. And, RIOC has the chance to fulfill its mission and purpose on the island. This is our moment to lead.
... Net-zero energy would be achieved by sipping power from a 150,000-square-foot photovoltaic array (the largest in NYC, the architects say) and geothermal wells. It would also draw on passive heating and cooling strategies. “The [zig-zagging] layouts have to do with harvesting daylight and mitigating heat gain,” SOM partner Roger Duffy says. A caveat: The net-zero goal would be confined to the campus’s academic architecture. That’s because, as SOM’s Colin Koop explains, PVs aren’t efficient enough to generate adequate energy for proposed housing units and a hotel. Those structures would earn LEED Silver certification....
Proposed Cornell Energy Usage Image From Fastcodesign
The Cornell Chronicle adds:
... The campus's planned solar array will generate 1.8 megawatts at daily peak -- the largest such array in New York City. A four-acre geothermal well field -- composed of deep-earth wells -- exceeds any current geothermal heating system in New York City....Roosevelt Island may be leading the way for clean, affordable energy.
... the campus will take full advantage of power from the sun. It has been designed to face solar south, and its buildings will be situated to avoid shading each other. Electrical power from a fuel cell will further reduce the impact of the campus on the supply-limited electric grid.
The structures will be heated and cooled by a central, geothermal heat pump system, which provides heat more efficiently than boilers or electricity. Heat generated by the fuel cell will also be gleaned to supplement the non-academic campus needs, for added economy and energy savings.
The geothermal system -- an array of 400 wells spread out over four acres -- will use 500-foot deep holes to extract heat from the earth to warm buildings in the winter. During the summer, the system will transfer excess heat from inside the buildings back into the ground to provide air conditioning....
UPDATE 6:30 PM - On the Verdant RITE project, DNA Info adds:
... Those six turbines produced energy that powered a Gristedes and a parking garage on Roosevelt Island. It has not yet been determined what the expanded grid of turbines will power, Taylor said, suggesting that some of it could power electric car stations inside Roosevelt Island's parking garages.Click here for entire DNA Info article.
He also is looking forward to collaborating on research and design with faculty from Cornell University's new tech campus coming to Roosevelt Island. He's already had discussions with the school, he said.
UPDATE 2/2 - Roosevelt Island resident Trevre Andrews sends in this illustration of NYC Power Consumption.
According to Modi Research Group:
Click here for the interactive map and Roosevelt Island power consumptions statistics.The map represents the total annual building energy consumption at the block level (zoom levels 11-15) and at the taxlot level (zoom levels 16-18) for New York City, and is expressed in kilowatt hours (k Wh) per square meter of land area. The data comes from a mathematical model based on statistics, not private information from utilities, to estimate the annual energy consumption values of buildings throughout the five boroughs. To see the break down of the type of energy being used, for which purpose and in what quantity, hover over or click on a block or taxlot.