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Warren, Tourister developer explores tidal energy

WARREN - John Rosenthal has his eyes on the heavy current pulling hard underneath the Warren River Bridge. The president of Meredith Management — the company planning to develop the 14-acre former American Tourister property into hundreds of condominiums — wants to harness the river's tidal energy and use it to supply electricity to the proposed residential complex. The state's Office of Energy Resources is already on board with Mr. Rosenthal's idea. In late August, the agency awarded a $20,000 grant to Meredith Management to fund a feasibility study. On Thursday, Sept. 14, the same day Mr. Rosenthal formally submitted the plan for the redeveloped Tourister property, the company president said work had begun on the tidal energy study, and that he was optimistic about its potential. "We hope it will be fiscally feasible," he said. "This is better than wind energy ... water is denser than air, and it is invisible to the public."

WARREN - John Rosenthal has his eyes on the heavy current pulling hard underneath the Warren River Bridge. The president of Meredith Management — the company planning to develop the 14-acre former American Tourister property into hundreds of condominiums — wants to harness the river's tidal energy and use it to supply electricity to the proposed residential complex.

The state's Office of Energy Resources is already on board with Mr. Rosenthal's idea. In late August, the agency awarded a $20,000 grant to Meredith Management to fund a feasibility study. On Thursday, Sept. 14, the same day Mr. Rosenthal formally submitted the plan for the redeveloped Tourister property, the company president said work had begun on the tidal energy study, and that he was optimistic about its potential.

"We hope it will be fiscally feasible," he said. "This is better than wind energy ... water is denser than air, and it is invisible to the public."

Current tidal energy technology uses underwater turbines spun by the incoming and outgoing tides to generate electricity. According to the Electric Power Research Institute website, projects in the East River in New York and near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco currently... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

WARREN - John Rosenthal has his eyes on the heavy current pulling hard underneath the Warren River Bridge. The president of Meredith Management — the company planning to develop the 14-acre former American Tourister property into hundreds of condominiums — wants to harness the river's tidal energy and use it to supply electricity to the proposed residential complex.

The state's Office of Energy Resources is already on board with Mr. Rosenthal's idea. In late August, the agency awarded a $20,000 grant to Meredith Management to fund a feasibility study. On Thursday, Sept. 14, the same day Mr. Rosenthal formally submitted the plan for the redeveloped Tourister property, the company president said work had begun on the tidal energy study, and that he was optimistic about its potential.

"We hope it will be fiscally feasible," he said. "This is better than wind energy ... water is denser than air, and it is invisible to the public."

Current tidal energy technology uses underwater turbines spun by the incoming and outgoing tides to generate electricity. According to the Electric Power Research Institute website, projects in the East River in New York and near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco currently employ tidal energy technology.

"It would be San Francisco, New York ... and Warren," Mr. Rosenthal said.

Plans for the local project are aided by the natural formation of the Warren River, which bottlenecks near the northern edge of the former Tourister property to create a strong current, and a newfound desire for renewable energy sources by the state's government. Recently, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri invited Mr. Rosenthal to a press conference to discuss renewable energy sources — specifically, wind power, hydro-electric dams and tidal turbines.

Mr. Rosenthal said the tide holds a few notable advantages over the alternatives. "It's dependable, it's always there. The wind, it can come and go," he said.

Mr. Rosenthal added that some people — himself not included — have opposed wind turbines because of their appearance. "Tidal energy is invisible," he said.

Study specifics

According to a letter from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources to Mr. Rosenthal, the feasibility study will review the potential for physical energy within that portion of the Warren River, as well as environmental conditions, including threatened or sensitive habitats, threatened or endangered species, known environmental impacts and potential nursery locations for recreationally and commercially significant fish and shellfish.

The study will also focus on current site uses, like navigation channels, boating in the area, fishing and other water demands.

"The office looks forward to working with you and I hope that this study proves feasible," wrote Janice McClanaghan, chief of energy and community service.

Mr. Rosenthal also hopes the state would fund part of the project, should it be built. The Massachusetts-based developer hopes the former Tourister development project can become an educational tool in addition to its practical application, offering demonstrations to students and the public.

Life's work

Mr. Rosenthal sees the upcoming work on the property as a culmination of his prior experiences — working as a carpenter and promoting energy conservation. He said the project will highlight "green" approaches toward architecture and landscaping, all while trying to blend the soon-to-be-developed property with the established surrounding neighborhood.

Mr. Rosenthal has pleased local officials with an open-armed approach toward planning the redevelopment of the 14-acre property. He previously held a public-friendly tour of the building and brainstorming session, where he culled a few key ideas from Warren residents that he plans to employ.

"It seemed like a no-brainer, listening to what local people had to say," Mr. Rosenthal said.

Tourister plan, by the numbers

Here's a look at a few of the numbers associated with the proposed redevelopment of the American Tourister property:

* 350: Residential units

* 1,400: Linear feet of boardwalk

* 50,000: Square feet of commercial space

* 350-375: Dollars per square-foot for residential units

* 70,000: Tax dollars currently collected on property

* 2,000,000: Estimated tax dollars on property when project is completed

* 800 to 1,600: Square feet of proposed units

* 180,000: Square-feet of green space added

* 14: Acres of Tourister property

jbickford@eastbaynewspapers.com


Source: http://www.eastbayri.com/st...

SEP 21 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/4745-warren-tourister-developer-explores-tidal-energy
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