Start spreading the news, New York could see a tidal energy array deployed in the East River by the end of next year, after the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) awarded its first pilot project license for a tidal energy project to developer Verdant Power Inc.
The company confirmed yesterday that it has been granted a 10 year license that will allow it to "demonstrate the commercial viability" of its tidal stream turbine technology.
Trey Taylor, co-founder and president of Verdant Power, told news agency Bloomberg that the company will now aim to deploy five turbines at the site by the end of next year, with a further 30 generators scheduled to be installed by 2015.
Under the terms of the pilot license, the company will undertake an environmental analysis to measure the impact of the project on local habitats and wildlife. If the project proves to have minimal impact the company will then be able to apply for a longer commercial license, allowing it to sell power to local utilities.
FERC chairman Jon Wellinghoff hailed the project as a leap forward for tidal energy technologies in the US.
"Issuing a pilot license for an innovative technology is a major step in the effort to help our country meet our renewable energy goals," he said in a statement. "FERC's pilot process is doing what it should: allow for exploration of new renewable technologies while protecting the environment."
The project could prove to be the first in a wave of new marine energy projects in the US. FERC said that it had already issued 100 preliminary permits allowing firms to study the feasibility of developing specific projects, while another nine organisations are in the pre-filing stages of developing license applications, and three have filed license applications that are currently being considered.