Over the past 40 years, New York City has spent over $45 billion to improve the water quality of the East River, adding new wastewater treatment plants and green infrastructure to reduce runoff. However, the river still sees roughly five billion gallons of sewage and garbage flowing through its waters annually. Bruce Teitelbaum, the general partner of RiverLinC, has proposed a productive use for this toxic stream — turn green sludge into green energy.

Teitelbaum wants to build an eco-friendly power plant in Long Island City dubbed “River Green Power.” The River Green Project would use the East River, solar, and geothermal power to provide electricity.

Located at Vernon Boulevard and 43rd Street, Teitelbaum believes his $250 million, six-acre project designed by SHoP Architects will provide thousands of jobs while cutting carbon emissions by 70 percent and supplying energy to the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing complex in the country. 

The project would also see the construction of a "RiverLInC Greenway" connecting the Long Island City waterfront to Roosevelt Island. 

SHoP Architects

After reeling from the loss of the Amazon headquarters, River Green Power would also restore Long Island City’s power by generating its own power.

Despite not requiring zoning changes, this proposal still requires the approval of the NYCHA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (which provides permits to use water in the East River). The Queens Chamber of Commerce has already come out in support.

According to the New York Post, “the organizers plan to create an ESCO — a for-profit energy service company — and raise money from investors to get off the ground.”

Teitelbaum would also receive grants from the New York State Power Authority and the NYS Energy and Research Development Authority, both of which offer support to companies that open clean energy plants. And as President Biden’s administration pushes for clean energy projects, this could mean an infusion of federal funds for Teitelbaum's ambitious vision.