This project is very interesting because it will provide additional power close to where it is much needed and should allow a good opportunity to study possible short and long term environmental effects (which I suspect may well have been part of the delay in getting the license). If this one works out well, we could possibly see more of these in other ares where there are significant river tidal effects.
It seems the first tidal energy project was in France:
It is also the world's second largest, with a yearly average of 96 MegaWatts. This little project is for 1 MegaWatt of power.
From Clive.Hendricks's link it looks like it has been running since 2002 and with six turbines since 2006. So this is just really a scaling up, to 30 turbines.
It also looks like it is a privately funded/owned project.
Regarding how much tital will cost compared with coal or what else is used in New York City: I don't believe there is much generating capacity within New York City anymore. Many of the small plants were shut down, and I doubt if much coal is used. There are a few plants still operating, and they use natural gas or a mix of gas and oil. There are plans to generate some power using gas from sewage treatment plants.
The following link provides more information and a picture of the turbine.
For the last ten years they have been testing prototypes and demonstrating feasibility.
"Earlier phases of the project involved prototype testing from 2002 to 2006 and demonstration from 2006 to 2008. During the demonstration period, Verdant operated six full-scale turbines and delivered 70 megawatt-hours of energy to two end users in 9,000 turbine-hours of operation with no fouling or damage to the turbines from debris."
I recall I had heard about the idea of using tidal energy to generate electricity long back, but I was surprised to see it was starting now. What kind of turbines are used for generating electricity from tidal energy. Is this tried out anywhere else in the world
The East River is treacherous thanks to those currents. Maybe the tidal race will be of some use now. Of course, one has to wonder (a) why did it take 10 years to get permits? Only the government can do in 10 years something that should take 10 weeks. Well, maybe 10 months, to give them the benefit of the doubt. But here's a big (b): what's this going to cost compared to burning coal or whatever they use in NYC right now? There's the upfront costs of construction (which in a cry-baby union city should be really remarkable) but then maintenance. This one will be interesting to watch, because I suspect we haven't heard all of the downside yet.
I wonder who's paying for this? Is Verdant Power doing this on investment capital, or has the money been firked from the taxpayers? Another interesting point. If it's investment capital, I'm all for it.