The RITE Project Pilot, licensed under FERC P-12611, builds on the successful RITE Demonstration that was developed from 2005-08. The RITE Project Pilot will consist of:
- A Project boundary of approximately 21 acres, including shoreline lands for interconnection;
- Project works consisting of:
- Up to Thirty 35-kW, 5-meter diameter axial flow Kinetic Hydropower Systems (KHPS) turbines;
- Up to Ten TriFrameTM mounts, each of which will support 3 KHPS turbines;
- 480-volt underwater cables from each turbine to five shoreline switchgear vaults that will interconnect to a control room and interconnection points, and;
- Appurtenant faculties for navigation and operation.
In accordance with the FERC Pilot Project License, the RITE Pilot Project is being installed in stages with commensurate environmental monitoring as follows:
- Install B-1: Install a single TriFrame, consisting of three Gen5 turbines (Planned 2 Q 2020.)
- Install B-2: Install up to three additional TriFrames, consisting of up to nine Gen5 turbines (Potential, timing extended beyond the pilot license period)
- Install C: Install up to six additional TriFrames, consisting of up to eighteen Gen5 turbines (for total installation of no more than 30 Gen5 turbines) (Potential, timing extended beyond the pilot license period)
The Project is located in the State of New York, in the county of New York, in the East Channel of the East River within the city of New York and the borough of Manhattan. Turbines are installed at 10 meters depth in the tidal strait connecting Long Island Sound to Atlantic Ocean through New York Harbor.
The 1.05 MW RITE Project (RITE Pilot) was licensed under the first FERC Hydrokinetic Pilot Project License, which was issued in conjunction with a 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) permit issued by NYSDEC, an underwater lands lease issued by NYSOGS, and CZMA concurrence issued by NYSDOS. The RITE Pilot consent process began in late 2008 and the FERC license was issued January 2012. Throughout the consent process the following key organizations have been involved: NYSDEC, NYSDOS, USACE, USEPA, NMFS/NOAA, USCG, NYSOGS, and others. Public involvement included stakeholder meetings, work groups, public meetings, and public notice and comment periods. The following is a brief procedural history:
- In 2003, Verdant Power filled an Initial Construction Document to license the project
- 2005 under the “Verdant Order,” installed and operated a tidal kinetic hydropower array in the East River from 2006-2009.
- November 25, 2008: FERC Draft License Application filed for RITE Pilot
- May 1, 2009: Notice and Letter issued grating waivers for use of Pilot Procedures
- December 29, 2010: FERC Final License Application filed for RITE Pilot License
- January, 2011: NYSDEC, USACE Section 10/404/401 Permit Applications filed and CZMA filed
- February 2, 2011: REA Notice issued; June 6, 2011: Comments filed
- August 2011: NYSDEC WQC (401/404) public comment; October 2011: Comments filed
- December 13, 2011: NYSDEC grants 10-year Water Quality Certification (WQC) (301/404)
- January 23, 2012: FERC issued a 10-year Hydrokinetic Pilot Project License, incorporating WQC terms. 10-year license expires January 1, 2022.
- USACE Section 10/404 Permit: Approved
- December 29, 2017: Verdant Power filed a request for license extension
- May 3, 2018: FERC denied a License Extension for Verdant Power
- July 19, 2018: FERC denied rehearing of the order and Verdant was instructed to file a Pre-Application Document (PAD) within 120 days of the May 3 order (by August 31 2019) in order to apply for a subsequent license for the RITE project.
- August 31, 2018: Verdant Power submitted an Addendum to Verdant Power RITE Draft License Application. The Install B-1 operation and monitoring will continue under the terms of the existing Pilot License, in parallel with this relicensing activity.
- October 3, 2019; FERC issued an ORDER MODIFYING LICENSE ARTICLE 401; approving and amendment to 1)suspend RMEE-2 and RMEE 3 monitoring under conditions 11 and 12 of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's Water Quality Certificate (WQC) an modify the RMEE-4 ; the Tagged Species Detection Plan (RMEE-4) under WQC Condition 13 i to place an additional receiver in the east channel of the East River and monitoring to occur on a year-round basis; and the Underwater Sound Monitoring and Evaluation Plan (RMEE-6) under WQC Condition 16 is modified to use two far-field monitoring locations.
As of October 2019, the outlined execution of RMEE (Environmental Monitoring) Plans as amended for the observation of three operating turbines on a TriFrame mount is scheduled to occur in 2020, during the B-1 phase of instillation.
Key Environmental Issues
Verdant Power has and will continue to execute a comprehensive set of environmental monitoring and safeguard plans to ensure the safe operation of the RITE Pilot Project. These efforts include a set of environmental monitoring plants - the RITE Monitoring of Environmental Effects (RMEE) plans - which will be conducted throughout the phased development of the project to observe the interaction of aquatic species with the natural environment, particularly as the project grows to include larger arrays of operating turbines. These plans are extensions of prior RITE monitoring efforts, which showed no evidence of negative impact to the local environment in the project area.
Aquatic Life - The East River supports a variety of resident and migrating aquatic species, including winter flounder, Atlantic tomcod, striped bass, bay anchovy, and American eel. The two relatively common fish species are the Atlantic silverside and the northern pipefish.
Terrestrial Resources - A variety of birds inhabit the area, with some using the East River for feeding or resting. Dominant species include the double-crested cormorant and a variety of gulls.
Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species - Two federally-listed endangered fish species, the shortnose sturgeon and the Atlantic sturgeon, are known to traverse the area. The threatened green turtle and loggerhead turtle, and the endangered Kemp's ridley turtle and leatherback turtle may be present in the area. The Biological Assessment for the RITE Project rated the probability for interaction with these species to be low. However, as part of its monitoring, Verdant Power will continue to observe and report any interaction between these species and the project during operation
All of the data collected during the Pilot License term (up until October 2019) confirms that this is an ideal site for testing and development of tidal power with minimal potential for environmental impacts.
Papers, Reports, Research Studies
- “Parameter Updates to Probabilistic Tidal Turbine-Fish Interaction Model,” Tomichek, C., Colby, J., Bevelhimer, M., Adonizio, M.A.; 2016
- “Fish Behavioral Response During Hydrokinetic Turbine Encounters: Applying Multi-beam Hydroacoustics Results to a Fish-Turbine Interaction Model,” Bevelhimer, M., Scherelis, C., Colby, J., Tomichek, C., Adonizio, M.A.; 2015
- Informing a tidal Turbine Strike Probability Model Through Characterization of Fish Behavioral Response Using Multibeam Sonar Output; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; 2015
- Bevelhimer, M.; Scherelis, C.; Colby, J.; Adonizio, M. (). Hydroacoustic Assessment of Behavioral Responses by Fish Passing Near an Operating Tidal Turbine in the East River, New York. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 146(5), 1028-1042.
Post-Installation Monitoring: Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project Pilot
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Collision||Fish||RMEE-2: Seasonal DIDSON Observation Monitoring - Deploy seasonal Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON), a multi-element sonar that provides video-like images of underwater objects to provide real-time observation of fish behavior near operating KHPS during a seasonal period of known fish abundance. Specifically, the goal is to provide imaging of any fish-KHPS interaction, both spatial and temporal, at the micro scale around a rotating turbine to build the understanding of fish interaction near operating machines.||DIDSON deployed in stationary position aimed at operating KHPS turbine||Suspended October 2019|
|Noise||Fish, Marine Mammals||RMEE-6: Underwater Noise Monitoring and Evaluation - The objective of this study is to determine the noise signature from 6-30 operating Gen5 KHPS turbines and use this information to verify or refute the initial finding that the machines do not emit noise at levels that would cause harm to aquatic resources.||Underwater hydrophones - near operating KHPS and far field measurements||Planned for 2020|
|Noise||Fish, Marine Mammals||RMEE-7: Underwater Noise Monitoring and Evaluation||Localized observations of recreational use in the area||Ongoing|
|Habitat Change||Fish||RMEE-1: Seasonal Fixed Hydroacoustics - Deploy seasonal fixed hydroacoustic instruments to provide a picture on the meso and macro presence and abundance of fish targets in the Pilot area, and movement of fish relative to a turbine field at the meso and macro scales at a known migration period. Coupled with other elements of this plan, the interaction and effects of an operating KHPS can start to be understood.||Install B-2 and C only|
|Habitat Change||Fish||RMEE-3: Seasonal Species Characterization Netting - The objective of netting is to provide a set of net capture data, during May through December, with more effort during the seasonal period (mid-September through mid-December) of elevated fish abundance in the project vicinity to provide species characterization information in the area of the RITE pilot, and to support the interpretation of the past and future DIDSON monitoring and hydroacoustic evaluations above.||Netting during slack tide - May/June, July/August and 6 days between Sept. 15 - Dec. 15||Suspended- October 2019|
|Habitat Change||Fish||RMEE-4: Tagged Species Detection - The objective of this plan is to provide new and unique detections on the potential presence of the proposed ESA listed Atlantic sturgeon, ESA listed shortnose sturgeon, along with striped bass, bluefish, winter flounder, and 27 other species that have been acoustically tagged. Detection would occur in both the east and west channels of the East River, proximate to the RITE Pilot project boundary. Little is known of the presence and pattern of these ESA species in the vicinity of the Pilot project, and so this data will support further understanding of the effects of the operation of the RITE Pilot project.||VEMCO receivers deployed in the east and west channels of the East River.||See annual monitoring reports submitted to FERC for 2011 - 2018 (Docket No. P-12611)||Ongoing|
|Habitat Change||Birds||RMEE-5: Seasonal Bird Observation - The objective of this plan is to observe bird presence and activity near the RITE Project boundary in order to provide additional observations on the potential effects of the operating KHPS on diving bird populations, and also to provide additional insights into potential effects of operating KHPS on the fish (i.e. increased bird activity in and around the RITE operating field could be an indication of increased injury and mortality of fish).||Bird Observations during Spring and Fall.||Planned for 2020|
|Human Dimensions, Navigation||Safeguard Plans||In coordination with the US Coast Guard maintain lighted PATON buoys delineating RITE Pilot Project Boundary||Approved|