Tidal Power Turmoil

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by Amanda Witherell

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The New York Times is reporting problems with the tidal power technology being field tested in the East River. Looks like the underwater windmills couldn't hack a current that sheared off the tips of the blades, but optimists from Verdant, the start-up company that owns the project, say that's what field testing is all about. While several permits have been issued to the more tidally blessed coastal areas in North America, Verdant is the only company to actually deploy some of the much talked about technology to see if it works.

The SFPUC, in a strange partnership with PG&E, is exploring similar technology to harness tidal power in the Bay. But last night I overheard the PUC's general manager, Susan Leal, say they were still looking into it, but she wasn't enthusiastic about anything yet. She said she'd visited the East River project and "wasn't impressed."