Cape Sharp Tidal makes strides on cutting-edge tidal power project

Cape Sharp Tidal, a joint venture between Emera and OpenHydro, said Dec. 10 that it has completed two significant milestone operations in preparation for the next phase of the tidal energy demonstration project in Nova Scotia—the installation of its subsea power cable and the launch of its deployment barge.

The operation to lay the Cape Sharp Tidal interconnection cable is the first project component to be deployed, and the only system of its kind in the world. The operation was completed during a single tidal cycle, while holding position over Cape Sharp Tidal’s berth site at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

With support from its marine operations partner, Atlantic Towing Ltd., Cape Sharp Tidal deployed 300 meters of power and fibre-optic data cable from a specially-outfitted barge. Teams also recovered and lifted the existing 16-MW subsea export cable installed by FORCE, and using an on-deck mating table, linked it to Cape Sharp’s interconnection hub. The whole system was placed back on the sea floor, where the cables will remain until Spring 2016, when the turbines are scheduled for deployment.

The Scotia Tide barge, designed by OpenHydro, a DCNS Company, built by Aecon Group, took its maiden test voyage around the Pictou Harbour over the weekend. The unique, catamaran-style vessel is the largest heavy lift capacity barge in Atlantic Canada. The 64-meter-long, 37-meter-wide, 650-tonne barge has a 1,150-tonne carrying capacity. Purpose-built for deployment and recovery operations, The Scotia Tide is equipped with three heavy-lift winches that give it a unique capacity to lower and raise turbines from the sea floor. Cape Sharp Tidal’s 1,000-tonne turbines will be towed from Pictou Harbour to the FORCE test site in Parrsboro next spring.

“Every success of Cape Sharp Tidal manufacturing and operations is an important step toward building a tidal energy sector in Nova Scotia,” said Chris Huskilson, President and CEO of Emera Inc. “The safe and successful cable installation and the made-in-Nova Scotia Scotia Tide barge launch are two of the more significant milestones.”

“Nova Scotians continue to impress with their expertise in ship-building, industrial manufacturing and as experienced marine operators,” said James Ives, OpenHydro’s Chief Executive. “The barge launch and the cable installation are both Nova Scotia-made solutions that get us one step closer to a successful tidal array in this first demonstration phase of the Cape Sharp Tidal project.”

Cape Sharp Tidal’s other significant project milestones include:

  • Invested C$33 million in the Nova Scotia supply chain and business to spark tidal industry growth
  • Manufacturing and assembly of turbine #1 expected to be complete by the end of the year
  • Building capacity in the local workforce with more than 250 people working on the Cape Sharp Tidal project
  • Established a robust Environmental Effects Monitoring Program to demonstrate tidal is a safe and sustainable energy source
  • Engaging local communities around the Bay of Fundy to earn public support for the project
  • Collaborating with local and international research partnerships to track, monitor and analyse post-deployment data

Cape Sharp Tidal plans to install two 2-MW in-stream tidal turbines in 2016, North America’s first commercial scale grid-connected tidal array. It will be the first developer to demonstrate its technology at the FORCE test site. The project is the first step toward demonstrating that in-stream tidal energy development is an opportunity for Nova Scotia and Canada to establish a thriving tidal industry and be a global leader in an emerging market.

OpenHydro is a DCNS company specialising in the design, manufacture and installation of marine turbines generating renewable energy from tidal streams. OpenHydro has achieved a number of industry firsts including being the first to deploy a tidal turbine at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), the first to connect to and generate electricity from tidal streams onto the UK National Grid and the first to successfully demonstrate a method of safely and economically deploying and recovering turbines directly on the seabed.

Emera is a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with approximately C$11 billion in assets and 2014 revenues of C$2.97 billion. The company invests in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, as well as gas transmission and utility energy services.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.