THE BAY OF FUNDY’S tides have been harnessed to power Nova Scotia’s electrical grid.
In early November, Cape Sharp Tidal’s two-megawatt turbine was deployed at a site in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy and began producing power. It’s the first time in-stream tidal power has been connected to the province’s power grid. In fact, it’s the first time it’s been done anywhere in Canada.
Cape Sharp Tidal is a partnership between Halifax-based energy company Emera Inc. and Irish tidal turbine manufacturer OpenHydro/DCNS. It’s one of four developers who have committed to test tidal energy technology at the Parrsboro site operated by the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE). FORCE works with developers, regulator and researchers to study the potential for tidal turbines to produce energy from the Bay of Fundy’s powerful tides.
The turbine, which weighs approximately 1,000 tonnes and is 16 metres in diameter, rests on the seafloor submerged in 40 metres of water. Cape Sharp Tidal spokesperson Sarah Dawson says getting the turbine into the water and connecting it to the grid starts a long commissioning phase for the project. As this magazine went to press, she said the turbine was close to producing its maximum capacity of two megawatts of power.
But this turbine is just the start for the partnership. It plans to plunk another two-megawatt turbine in the Bay of Fundy sometime in 2017, resulting in a four MW tidal array that would be the first phase of a commercial-scale project. With potentially 7,000 MWs of tidal energy waiting to be harnessed in the Minas Passage where the FORCE site is located, Cape Sharp Tidal’s work could be the start of something big in Nova Scotia. “It’s very early days for this technology,” Dawson says. “But we see an opportunity for a thriving industry in Nova Scotia unlike anywhere else in the world.”