|The tide drops out of a tidal marsh near the Back River on Arrowsic Island, Maine.|
Now, Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. has announced plans with Nova Scotia-based Fundy Tidal Inc. to install underwater hydrokinetic turbines to generate electricity from the Bay of Fundy's tides. The proposal involves the installation of 15 to 20 150-kW turbines in the Petit Passage between Digby Neck and Long Island off western Nova Scotia (map) by 2012.
The new venture, named ORPC Nova Scotia Ltd., plans to benefit from Nova Scotia's feed-in tariff. That program, known as the community-based feed-in tariff or COMFIT, is projected to require utilities to pay qualified tidal projects 65.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for their output. This rate, about six times higher than the typical rate for electricity, is a significant incentive for the development of the province's resources. Additional support is available from the provincial government to assess hydrokinetic and small tidal projects like the Petit Passage project.
This project may be smaller than the 500 MW Passamaquoddy Power Project first proposed in 1919, but it could represent the first commercial deployment of underwater hydrokinetic turbines in the Bay of Fundy, and follows in Nova Scotia's traditions of harvesting the energy of its tides.