A Canadian tidal power developer has installed a turbine at a test site in the Bay of Fundy. Cape Sharp Tidal's project off Nova Scotia could demonstrate the feasibility of larger-scale marine hydrokinetic power plants connected to the mainland electricity grid.
Cape Sharp Tidal is a joint venture between Canadian utility Emera Inc. and marine turbine manufacturer OpenHydro. Its project entails a grid-connected 4-megawatt array consisting of two tidal turbines. The project is located at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) site. Headquartered near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, FORCE is Canada's leading research center for in-stream tidal energy, with demonstration berths, a grid interconnection capable of accepting tidal power, and environmental monitoring capabilities.
This week Cape Sharp Tidal deployed the project's first turbine-generator, a 2-megawatt OpenHydro unit. In subsequent work, crews interconnected the turbine cable tail to the FORCE site's main interconnection cable, an existing 16MW subsea export cable connected to an onshore substation.
Previous efforts to develop hydrokinetic tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy have met with difficulty. While the bay offers large and powerful tides, weather and sea conditions can prove challenging, as can obtaining environmental and regulatory approvals. A test tidal turbine deployed in 2009 was quickly destroyed; the turbine installed this week was originally slated for installation earlier but was delayed due to concerns over impacts to fisheries and the environment. This week's installation represents a concrete step forward for Canadian tidal power.
Cape Sharp Tidal intends to install and connect a second turbine at the FORCE site in 2017. According to the developer, its future plans -- subject to regulatory and business approvals -- could include a commercial-scale project of up to 300 megawatts capacity within 15 years.