This post is part of a collaborative narrative series composed of my writing and Chris Arnade’s photos exploring issues of addiction, poverty, prostitution and urban anthropology in Hunts Point, Bronx. For more on the series, look here.
Currently, there are no tidal power plants in the United States, but conditions are good for tidal power generation in the Pacific Northwest and the Atlantic Northeast regions.
It does not cost much to operate tidal power plants, but their construction costs are high, which lengthens payback periods. As a result, the cost per kilowatt-hour of tidal power is not competitive with conventional fossil fuel power.¹
Eric: Hunts Point, Bronx. Courtesy of Chris Arnade.
Eric knows words. Electron affinity — energy shells — Krebs cycle — homeostasis — carbon monoxide — hemoglobin. The words meet, foreign, rusted, hooked together with “oxygenated” and “atomic.”
In another time or dream, he worked as a contractor on nuclear submarines until he showed up nodding with molasses tongue. That day, heroin traded his blue high security clearance badge for a white one where he wasn’t allowed behind certain doors. Let go due to psychiatric concerns.
He had a steady-good-income-job life, drinking wine with a wine-drinking girlfriend. A wine-drinking girlfriend who later became heroin-shooting wife.
I did this to Sonya. Her home is a crouch behind propped plywood.
Eric and Sonya: Hunts Point, Bronx. Courtesy of Chris Arnade.
After he gets himself cleaned up (only drinking and shooting a little heroin outside his program), Eric wants to build infrastructure for tidal turbines, to work in power for Con Edison. It’s all about power.
Tidal turbines should be stuck in the Hudson River because tides never stop. They can put subways underwater, why not turbines? No-brainer. They’re like the Hoover Dam that way: free energy. People think wind turbines are ugly, big, white, wheeling.
And can you imagine what Manhattan would be if every roof was covered with solar panels? What a waste that it isn’t like that now. Or if New York went nuclear? (Well, nuclear, but nothing Chernobyl.)
France went nuclear. Free energy, can you imagine? It’s here for us, this power, here for our taking.
Eric’s Key to the City: Hunts Point, Bronx. Courtesy of Chris Arnade.
Sonya should be out of this, so I can provide for her like a man. She’s always saying she makes more from panhandling than I do. But I’m the one with the knowledge and the trade and the skills.
Power, power, power.