Tidal Power Feasibility Study Grant Application

by Jane Ahrens

On May 15, 2015, the Fishers Island Electric Company filed a proposal with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for a grant to fund a Phase 1 Feasibility Assessment of tidal power generation around Fishers Island, particularly in The Race. NYSERDA, in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, is running the NY Prize Community Grid Competition, seeking proposals to develop “microgrids” — local community electrical generation and distribution systems that are resilient in normal operating conditions and during times of electrical grid outages such as hurricanes and winter storms.

The proposed study would assess the technical and economic viability of incorporating tidal energy generation and storage as a clean and predictable electric power source for the island that can operate in both a “grid-connected mode”, sending surplus power off-island, and in “island mode”, powering the island.

The proposal was put together with the help of ORPC Solutions, which has completed similar tidal energy feasibility assessments in Maine and Alaska. It is a subsidiary of Ocean Renewable Power Company LLC, a global leader in hydrokenetic power system technology and project development. The proposal team includes Princeton Power Systems, experts in microgrids, and the University of Connecticut’s Marine Science Program. Frank Bohlen, a life long member of the Fishers Island community and a Professor of Marine Sciences, was key to facilitating UConn’s involvement.

Against a tight deadline, many others from the community helped by providing letters of support for a feasibility study, including the Island Community Board, the Board of Education and Fishers Island School, the Ferry District, the Waste Management District, the Island Health Project, the Fishers Island Conservancy, Fishers Island Development Corporation, Race Rock Garden Co, the Beach Plum and Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative, which sources power for Groton Utilities, the island’s main power provider.  Louisa Evans helped get letters of support from Scott Russell, the Town Supervisor for Southold, Al Krupiski, a Suffolk County Legislator, and Anthony Palumbo, New York Assemblyman for the 1st District.

Winning proposals are to be announced by July 1, 2015.


Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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