Houses on the banks of New York’s East River might soon be powered by a new kind of electricity.
Six electricity turbines will be plunged into the East River in September this year – this will be the first tide-powered turbine farm in the world.
The turbines will be attached to concrete blocks wedged in the bedrock at the bottom of the river. They’ll pivot and spin as the tide comes in and out.
The farm will only produce enough power for 200 houses at first, but in future 200-300 extra turbines could be stretched along the river. The UN headquarters in Manhattan has already shown interest in this alternative source of energy.
Sceptics say the turbines won’t generate electricity at a competitive cost, but the industry is curious to see whether the project works out.
Experimental tide-powered turbines have already been installed off the coast of Britain and Norway. The East River project heralds a trend towards cheaper, free-standing turbines that can be dropped into rivers and estuaries to generate clean energy easily.
With oil prices increasing and a pressing need for efficient sources of alternative energy, this new way of generating energy will be welcome by most.