2005_10_23_turbines.jpgThe underwater windmills, er, turbines, are coming!

Way back when, water currents were a standard and very prevalent way to produce energy (hello, ye olde mill). It still is (hello, hydroelectric dams), just not so much in our neck of the woods. So how cool is it that New York City is going to be the first city to test out a set of underwater hydroelectric turbines?

Assuming approval from the Army Corps of Engineers a Virginia-based company called Verdant Power will soon install a set of six turbines between Roosevelt Island and Astoria. The turbines will be connected to the grid for an 18-month tryout and will power a parking lot and a Gristedes in this second turbine test (there was one previous proof of concept test by Verdant which was successful but only used one turbine and did not connect to the grid).

The turbines will each have 3 8-foot-long blades that will spin at 30 revolutions per second. If the test goes well, Verdant plans to ask to the city for permission to seed 300-400 turbines into the East River. Those turbines could theoretically produce enough energy to light 8,000 homes (which is somehow less than we expected). As fans of alternative energy sources, Gothamist really likes this idea. What do you think of these turbines?