Tidal Energy Project in the Bay of Fundy

Project Manager: Richard Fry, OERD, NRCan – Ottawa
Lead Proponent: Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE)
CEF Contribution: $ 25 M
Project Total: $ 86.7 M
Strategic Area: Marine/Hydro
Location: Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

Background:

The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) was incorporated in 2009 as a not for profit corporation with two roles. The first was to operate a tidal turbine demonstration facility; and the second was to enable public and private research into tidal energy extraction and its effects. Establishing FORCE was a requirement of the request for proposals issued in 2007 by the Province of Nova Scotia for the demonstration of tidal turbines.

The project will permit, construct and operate a facility in the Minas Passage of the Bay of Fundy where devices will be demonstrated by up to four Berth Holders.

Add-on Project:  To develop and deploy a tidal turbine monitoring equipment platform that will enable the project to test and validate monitoring equipment for use in tidal turbine monitoring.

FORCE facility, overlooking test site in Minas Passage

Objectives:

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Permit, construct and operate a facility in the Minas Passage of the Bay of Fundy where up to four devices will be demonstrated. The experience of constructing, deploying and operating the devices will facilitate the development of turbines that can be considered for commercial deployment in the Bay of Fundy and elsewhere.
  • Carry out and enable monitoring and research associated with the deployment, installation, and operation of tidal turbine devices for the purposes of:
    • supporting improvement of this technology, and
    • providing an understanding of its potential environmental impacts

NS Power / OpenHydro turbine, deployed in 2009

Benefits to Canada:

  • Meeting Canada’s GHG Reduction Commitments and Renewable Electricity Production Commitment by 2020 by accelerating the transition from research and development to full scale demonstration of tidal turbines and arrays followed by deployment of commercial energy production projects.
  • FORCE can give Canadians the opportunity to acquire the know-how to deploy, service, and grid-integrate tidal turbines just as a world market opens up.
  • Investment leverages significant investment in Canada – NRCan’s investment of $20 million is expected to help leverage up to $100 million in associated activity.

The FORCE Visitor Centre opened to the public on November 7, 2011

Project Status:

FORCE reached a major milestone in 2014: the installation of the underwater power cables. The four cables laid along the sea floor of the Minas Passage give FORCE the largest transmission capacity for tidal power in the world. With a combined length of 11 kilometres, the four 34.5kV cables have a total capacity of 64 megawatts, equivalent to the power needs of 20,000 homes at peak tidal flows. This subsea infrastructure will allow small turbine arrays to connect to the electricity grid.

As well, in 2014, all four FORCE developers received approval through the developmental feed-in tariff program for a total of 17.5 megawatts of electricity:  Minas Energy, 4 megawatts (MW); Black Rock Tidal Power, 5 MW; Atlantis Operations Canada, 4.5 MW; and Cape Sharp Tidal Venture, 4 MW.   This approval allows the developers to enter into a 15-year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power. Both OpenHydro and Black Rock Tidal Power have opened offices in Nova Scotia and begun hiring staff. OpenHydro component purchasing and fabrication is well underway.

FORCE has completed construction of the mini-lander, the first underwater platform created for the Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platform program, designed to measure the marine environment in real time via cable connection.  FAST responds to an emerging global need to identify and validate suitable tidal sites as well as monitor the environmental conditions at existing sites, which requires the technology and methods to gather data under the extreme conditions of high flow tidal races.

FORCE continues its environmental effects monitoring program and has finalized it’s second report covering studies for the 2011-2013 period.  If in-stream tidal technology is to grow to a larger, commercial scale project, development must happen safely. As turbines are deployed in the Minas Passage, FORCE is committed to understanding what effects they have on the environment, and reporting those effects to the public.

Video – Underwater Power Cables Installed:   https://vimeo.com/110095612

Additional Links:

More information on the project is available at: WWW.FUNDYFORCE.CA

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