Nova Scotia tidal energy demonstration projects

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia is seeking applications from tidal energy project developers for permits for tidal energy demonstration projects.

Nova Scotia is home to significant tidal energy potential. According to the provincial Department of Energy, the Bay of Fundy tides offer "an estimated potential of up to 60,000 megawatts (MW) of energy, of which up to 2,500 MW may be extracted without significant impact on our marine environment." The province adopted a Marine Renewable Energy Strategy in 2012, and a legislative framework for marine renewable energy in 2015. It is home to the 20 megawatt barrage-based Annapolis Royal Tidal Power Plant, and has taken steps to encourage research and development into tidal energy technologies.

Opportunities for Nova Scotia tidal energy demonstration projects have just expanded again. On January 24, 2018, the province announced that applications are now available for tidal energy demonstration permits under a recent amendment to the provincial Marine Renewable-Energy Act. Under the amended Nova Scotia tidal energy demonstration program, a demonstration permit allows for the development of a project consisting of up to 5 megawatts of aggregate capacity. No more than 10 megawatts of total power can be authorized under the program, which targets two specific "areas of priority for marine renewable energy developments": Bay of Fundy and the Bras d’Or Lake inland-sea.

The Nova Scotia demonstration permit program is designed to create "another way for developers to test and prove their ideas for innovative new devices," while allowing regulatory oversight of environmental and other concerns. For example, developers still must obtain all applicable permits and approvals. For tidal projects that could generate two megawatts or more, the process includes an environmental assessment approval. At the same time, the amended program significantly expands the area of waters where tidal demonstration projects may be permitted, and gives permittees the opportunity to sell the electricity they generate.

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