The “Theme” is Green

verdant-power-turbine-j003

In a bid to be the new, not-even-finished-yet Fresh Kills, a plan to build an alternative-energy theme park on Ward’s Island was signed off on by ol’ Bloomy. And of course it was brought to us by the same quality newspaper who recently printed a completely “green themed” issue with the front page headline “WE’RE SCREWED!”…The New York Post:

Wind reigns at city’s green ‘power park’

By JEREMY OLSHAN

Last Updated: 7:58 AM, October 14, 2009

Posted: 2:56 AM, October 14, 2009

In a grab for even more “power,” Mayor Bloomberg is about to harness the sun, the wind and East River tide.

The city just inked a deal to build an alternative-energy theme park on Wards Island, a complex of solar panels, wind and tidal turbines that will generate enough juice to power 100 homes. Intended to educate New Yorkers on the potential of going green, this demonstration project will generate only a tiny fraction of the energy possible with the technology, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told The Post: “We hope it will prove the worthiness of the island as a location for alternative energy generation,” he said. “We hope it can demonstrate this is a cost-effective way to capture the free energy of wind, sun and tides — and a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and our dependence on oil and gas.”

Project designer Natural Currents Energy Group, which is working on various renewable energy efforts around the country, said the Wards Island project has been tentatively dubbed Renewable Energy Park. Four 100-kilowatt tidal turbines, each 6 feet by 8 feet, will turn the wild currents of the East River into electric current; A 140-foot-high wind turbine, which will come only 60 feet from the base of the bridge, will be the most visible feature of the plant; Eight hundred square feet of solar panels, producing a total of 5 kilowatts, are mostly for show, and will not generate anywhere near the power the wind and tidal turbines do, said Roger Bason, president of NCEG.

Funded by a $990,000 grant from the US Department of Energy and $1.4 million from the city, the new green-power plant will be located on the southern tip of Wards Island near the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge. The electricity generated will be pumped into the Con Ed grid and will help offset the cost of lighting the park, including the Icahn Stadium on attached Randalls Island, Benepe said. Because of the complex web of government agencies controlling Randalls and Wards islands, and the effort to raise the funds, it has taken years to work out the details of a project first floated in 2006. But now that the contract is signed, it should be fully operational in two years, Bason said.

The solar panels will be ready the soonest, followed by the wind turbine and then the tidal ones. The New York City power plant could be a showpiece for the technology and could help Bloomberg move forward with his 2008 proposal to install wind farms atop buildings and bridges, Bason said. “This is a demonstration, and a very timely one,” he said. “We will have a visitor’s kiosk where people can see all the plans and learn how the various technologies work.” Based on some estimates, the East River alone could be harnessed to provide between 3 and 5 percent of New York’s power needs, Bason said. Wards and Randalls islands are an ideal location for the demonstration because the currents through Hell Gate are notoriously powerful, and it is an open area for sun and wind, Benepe said. “But it’s unclear to us if the devices can stand up to the currents of Hell Gate. Some experimental work was done and they did not,” the Parks commissioner said. The Parks Department is also exploring a wind turbine at Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island, and is working on other similar green projects around the city, he said. jeremy.olshan@nypost.com In a grab for even more “power,” Mayor Bloomberg is about to harness the sun, the wind and East River tide.

The city just inked a deal to build an alternative-energy theme park on Wards Island, a complex of solar panels, wind and tidal turbines that will generate enough juice to power 100 homes.

Intended to educate New Yorkers on the potential of going green, this demonstration project will generate only a tiny fraction of the energy possible with the technology, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told The Post.

“We hope it will prove the worthiness of the island as a location for alternative energy generation,” he said. “We hope it can demonstrate this is a cost-effective way to capture the free energy of wind, sun and tides — and a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and our dependence on oil and gas.”

Project designer Natural Currents Energy Group, which is working on various renewable energy efforts around the country, said the Wards Island project has been tentatively dubbed Renewable Energy Park.

Four 100-kilowatt tidal turbines, each 6 feet by 8 feet, will turn the wild currents of the East River into electric current.

A 140-foot-high wind turbine, which will come only 60 feet from the base of the bridge, will be the most visible feature of the plant.

Eight hundred square feet of solar panels, producing a total of 5 kilowatts, are mostly for show, and will not generate anywhere near the power the wind and tidal turbines do, said Roger Bason, president of NCEG.

Funded by a $990,000 grant from the US Department of Energy and $1.4 million from the city, the new green-power plant will be located on the southern tip of Wards Island near the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge.

The electricity generated will be pumped into the Con Ed grid and will help offset the cost of lighting the park, including the Icahn Stadium on attached Randalls Island, Benepe said.

Because of the complex web of government agencies controlling Randalls and Wards islands, and the effort to raise the funds, it has taken years to work out the details of a project first floated in 2006. But now that the contract is signed, it should be fully operational in two years, Bason said. The solar panels will be ready the soonest, followed by the wind turbine and then the tidal ones.

The New York City power plant could be a showpiece for the technology and could help Bloomberg move forward with his 2008 proposal to install wind farms atop buildings and bridges, Bason said.

“This is a demonstration, and a very timely one,” he said. “We will have a visitor’s kiosk where people can see all the plans and learn how the various technologies work.”

Based on some estimates, the East River alone could be harnessed to provide between 3 and 5 percent of New York’s power needs, Bason said.

Wards and Randalls islands are an ideal location for the demonstration because the currents through Hell Gate are notoriously powerful, and it is an open area for sun and wind, Benepe said. “But it’s unclear to us if the devices can stand up to the currents of Hell Gate. Some experimental work was done and they did not,” the Parks commissioner said.

The Parks Department is also exploring a wind turbine at Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island, and is working on other similar green projects around the city, he said.

This could be just a political move by Bloomberg to vouch for a project that may or may not every get off the ground. But hey, if it does come about, at least someone may learn something in the middle of their otherwise gluttonous, consumer-filled day!

Tidal turbines from TreeHugger

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