Cape Sharp Tidal gets an historic charge out of Canadian tidal turbine

Cape Sharp Tidal, a partnership between Emera and OpenHydro/DCNS, said Nov. 22 that it two week ago deployed its 2-MW Open-Centre Turbine at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) test site near Parrsboro—and that turbine is now producing Canada’s first in-stream tidal energy.

This is the first time clean, renewable in-stream tidal power has successfully been generated from the Bay of Fundy, which has a massive tidal range, and the first time a turbine has been grid-connected at FORCE. The energy will be produced and consumed in Nova Scotia, thanks to the province’s Renewable Electricity Regulations and agreements under the Developmental Feed-in Tariff program.

The demonstration turbine—designed and manufactured by OpenHydro—uses a fraction of the estimated 7,000 MW potential of the Minas Passage to power the equivalent of about 500 Nova Scotia homes with energy. A second turbine, planned for deployment in 2017, will make Cape Sharp Tidal one of the largest tidal generating arrays in the world.

The completed 4-MW demonstration project contributes to Nova Scotia’s over-achievement on national greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. Nova Scotia expects to reach between 43% and 46% reductions from 2005 levels by 2030.

FORCE has invested C$30 million in onshore and offshore electrical infrastructure to allow demonstration turbines to connect to the power grid. In total, more than 125 organizations contributed to the creation of the FORCE facility and its research and monitoring programs.

Cape Sharp Tidal has invested tens of millions of dollars to develop the local tidal industry and supply chain, and has met its commitment to spend 70% of first-phase project costs in Nova Scotia. More than 300 people have been employed on the project in areas such as fabrication, environmental monitoring, engineering, health and safety, marine services and more.

This year, FORCE has collected additional baseline data on sound, and on fish and marine mammals. Cape Sharp Tidal now begins real time data monitoring from a combination of passive and active sonars mounted on the turbine, and from control sites to collect data on operational sound and ocean life interactions with the device. This work will complement additional fish, lobster, marine mammal, seabird and noise studies at FORCE. Monitoring reports will be shared with regulators and the public, and will contribute to a growing international body of research.

“This is a small but historic step in Nova Scotia’s transformation from using imported coal to becoming a leader in clean, local energy. This achievement is the result of many people working to make all aspects of this project fit together – from environmental approvals to subsea cables to grid connection. How far can in-stream tidal grow? Now the most important research begins,” said Tony Wright, General Manager of FORCE.

“This is a huge achievement for Cape Sharp Tidal, a company combining DCNS, OpenHydro and our partner Emera. In two hours, within one tidal cycle, we deployed an Open-Centre Turbine in the Bay of Fundy and within 24 hours, secured the export of power to the Nova Scotian grid. The successful delivery of this turbine, the most powerful in North America, also represents a significant milestone for the global tidal industry. When it is joined by a second device in 2017, Cape Sharp Tidal will be one of the largest generating, in-stream tidal energy arrays anywhere in the world,” said Thierry Kalanquin, Chairman of OpenHydro and Senior Vice President, Energy and Marine Infrastructure at DCNS.

“Emera’s investment in Cape Sharp Tidal is an investment in Nova Scotia’s renewable energy future. We’re already seeing growth and momentum in this new Nova Scotia tidal industry. It’s a promising economic driver and an important local source of clean energy with benefits for the whole Province,” said Nancy Tower, Chief Corporate Development Officer of Emera Inc.

OpenHydro is a DCNS company specializing 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. OpenHydro has a project portfolio spanning Canada, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Channel Islands and Japan, with utility partners including Emera, EDF, Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, SSE Renewables and Alderney Renewable Energy.

Emera is a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The company invests in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, gas transmission and distribution, and utility energy services with a strategic focus on transformation from high carbon to low carbon energy sources. Emera has investments throughout North America, and in four Caribbean countries.

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.