Wards Island. A conceptual rendering of the locations of the planned 100 kW wind turbine (top left) solar kiosk, (left above) and tidal turbines (below bottom) that are expected to be installed off the south shore of Wards Island. (Images: Preliminary conceptual designs by Natural Currents Energy Services, LLC. via DNAinfo)
A $990,000.00 construction contract was awarded last week to Natural Energy Services, LLC, to build the first hybrid renewable energy installation that utilizes solar, wind and tidal components. The project has a public education and training element that is an integral component. The entire project was funded by a $990,000 grant from the US Department of Energy and $1.4 million from the city. - Geoffrey Croft
Randall’s Island’s baseball diamonds could soon be powered by the sun, wind and waves as the city moves forward with a long-awaited hybrid energy plant.
A $1 million contract to build the city's “first hybrid renewable energy installation” that will combine solar, wind and tidal energy in a unique demonstration-scale innovation center was quietly announced last week, according to a DNAinfo article.
“We are very eager to get rolling on it," said Roger Bason, president of Natural Currents Energy Services, the company that is behind the effort to build the center on Randall's Island.
"It’s been in the planning stages for many years.”
Bason said the project will include three components.
Solar, Wind and Tidal Energy Coming to Randall's Island. A conceptual rendering of the 100 kW wind turbine that is expected to be installed on the island.
The first, set to be completed by Sept. 2012, will be a solar kiosk which will operate as a marine research center and information center for visitors to the island..
In addition to powering its own operation, the kiosk's roof-mounted solar panels are intended to produce enough power to charge a handful of electric vehicles for more than 700,000 yearly visitors to see in action, he said.
Next, the team will install a wind turbine underneath the Robert F. Kennedy (formerly Triborough) Bridge. The turbine, which will be within view of both Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side and sections of Astoria, Queens, is slated for completion by April 2013, he said.
Finally, the team will add a tidal turbine to harness the power of the movement of the East River's strong tides. The turbine will be housed in a 30-by-60-foot barge, which will float about 50 meters offshore, he said.
The wind and tidal installations are expected to produce about 200 kW of energy — enough to power about 100 homes. On the island, the energy will likely be used to power lights and facilities like ball fields, Bason said.
In addition to showing off renewable energy to visitors, the project is also intended to produce research about how different green energy sources can work together.
“They work in sequence," he explained. "The tide turns on a certain pattern, the wind is very intermittent, the sun runs on a schedule.... All of this is cutting edge."
The project, which is being partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the city's Parks Department, was originally approved under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but has been delayed for years.
“Now it looks like the stars are all lining up," Bason said of the project, which he hopes can be replicated here and in other cities.
“Hopefully, it’s a model that can be replicated throughout the world for seeing how these systems work together and get the public excited," he said.
The city also recently began moving forward with plans to install a large solar and wind energy facility on 75 acres of land at the former Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island that could generate enough electricity to power as many as 6,000 homes.
Wards Island Tidal Energy Project. A tidal turbine installed installed off the south shore of Wards Island, in the Hell Gate Waterway near the junction of the Harlem River, East River, and Long Island Sound, will harness the power of the tides, helping to generate electricity.