Ottawa invests in Bay of Fundy tidal energy
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan recently announced that Ottawa is investing $9.6 million to advance the long-held goal of generating electricity from powerful currents and tides, particularly in the Bay of Fundy.
Nova Innovation, based in Scotland, is eligible for up to $4 million of the federal grant money for its plan to install 15 small sub-sea turbines in Petite Passage at Digby Neck, N.S. Another $4 million will be spent to research the environmental impact of underwater turbines on marine life in the Bay of Fundy. A further $1.5 million is being earmarked for research into energy from Canadian rivers.
Nova Innovation expects to place its first 100 kilowatt turbine in the water next summer, with more to follow over the next two years.
Promoters of Fundy tidal power are pursuing their goal despite past failures with demonstration turbines installed on the floor of the Minas Passage.
In Digby Neck, Nova Innovation has chosen a location with half the velocity of the Minas Passage, making it better suited for the company's turbines, which are already generating electricity off Scotland's Shetland Islands.
Nova Innovation has a 15-year deal with Nova Scotia Power to supply the utility with electricity at 50 cents per kilowatt hour — roughly three times above the rate paid by consumers, which is 15.8 cents per kilowatt hour.
Another $4 million from the federal announcement has been earmarked for environmental research. It will be used as follows:
- $2 million to Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia to research an environmental effects monitoring solution for the instream tidal energy industry in Canada, including fish and marine mammal interactions with tidal devices.
- $2 million to Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy to outline a plan to assess the encounter risk for fish with tidal devices and create a tool to support the regulatory authorization process for tidal energy projects. The tidal energy risk assessment program involves participation from multiple partners, including Acadia University, Marine Renewables Canada, Mi'kmaw Conservation Group, Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie University and Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy.
The remaining $1.58 million is for the University of Manitoba, in partnership with SOAR - Sustainable Oceans Applied Research, to advance research on river hydrokinetic and in-stream tidal energy technologies in the Canadian context.