Environmental Monitoring of Tidal Energy Technology

Lead Proponent: Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA)
Location: Halifax, NS
CEI Contribution: $1 M
Project Total: $ 4.1 M
Strategic Area: Renewable Energy, Smart Grids, and Storage 

Project Objectives:

This project aims to solicit research responses to a number of knowledge and technology gaps associated with the current state of tidal energy in Canada.  The overarching research objective is to address critical issues common to different tidal energy conversion technologies. This will reduce uncertainty and investment risk and will lower the cost of tidal electricity in Canada.

Critical research themes include but are not limited to, environmental effects monitoring (turbine effects on fish, marine mammals, seabirds, lobster, ambient noise), cost reduction technologies and innovation (common challenges to foundations, moorings, materials and methods), specialized marine operational capacity (innovations in vessel deployment, positioning, research, equipment recovery).

Expected Results:

Research projects selected under this joint fund are expected to produce a number of benefits to Canadians, including:

  1. Reduce the uncertainty and investment risk for tidal energy conversion technologies, ultimately lowering the cost of tidal electricity;
  2. Allow the Nova Scotia tidal industry to grow initially to 50MW then expanding to 300MW, while helping build the associated national supply and service sectors;
  3. Allow economic development of up to 200 additional sites in Canada suitable for in-stream tidal turbine technology, including northern and remote locations;
  4. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by addressing environmental concerns delaying the development of further renewable marine energy resources which could displace diesel and other fossil fuel based utilities; and
  5. Allow Canada to maintain and improve its position in the emerging global tidal energy market.

OERA is supporting five collaborative research project to address knowledge gaps and challenges associated with tidal energy development in Canada:

  • Acadia University in Wolfville, NS.  Project Lead Dr. Michael Stokesbury in collaboration with VEMCO Nova Scotia. The proponent will test innovative acoustic fish tracking technology to study fish distributions and movements in the Minas Passage. The data will provide information critical to calculating potential turbine interaction and effects on different fish species at the individual and population level.
  • The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE), Halifax, NS.  Project Lead Dr. Kira Krumhansl in collaboration with Acadia University, Kongsberg Marine, University of Maine, and ASL Environmental. The proponent will integrate overlapping hydro-acoustic technologies to predict fish interactions with in-stream tidal turbines, leading to a more advanced environmental monitoring technique for sector wide use.
  • Dynamic Systems Analysis (DSA), Halifax, NS.  Project Lead Mr. Dean Steinke, in collaboration with FORCE, Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Scotrenewables Tidal Power Ltd. and Tocardo Tidal Turbines. The project team will conduct full scale testing to investigate corrosion, wear, fatigue, and vibration of moorings and cables, leading to improvements in marine operations in turbulent tidal flows.
  • Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Dartmouth, NS.  Project Lead Dr. Etienne Mfoumou in collaboration with DSA, Dominion Diving and AML Oceanographic. The researchers will conduct a series of field trials with the objective of augmenting Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) operational capacity and efficiency to enhance marine operations in high flow tidal environments.
  • Acadia University in Wolfville, NS.  Project Lead Dr. Richard Karsten in collaboration with University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University and Luna Ocean Consulting. The project team will use an innovative suite of mobile measurement devices and modeling techniques to complete a comprehensive characterization of turbulence in the Minas Passage. The results will have important implications on turbine performance and durability optimization.

Project Partners:

Nova Scotia Department of Energy

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