A tidal energy facility in Nova Scotia could help fuel development of this emerging renewable energy source.
The last few years have been a time of amazing growth in the renewable energy industry and the renewable energy potential of many regions is increasingly being utilized. Tidal energy is becoming a hot topic, with many companies and locales looking to harness this energy source. Currently, Nova Scotia is considering the construction of the first in-stream tidal demonstration facility in North America in the Bay of Fundy. With some of the best tidal energy resources in the continent and new technology advances for tidal turbines, there is a tremendous opportunity to utilize this renewable energy resource.
The Electrical Power Research Institute calculates that this in-stream tidal energy facility could generate 300 MW of electricity and has many social and environmental benefits. The facility is expected to produce energy that is stable in cost and is not susceptible to the increasing prices and shortages of fossil fuels, thus benefiting the local economy. Air quality will not be compromised, nor will greenhouse gases be generate.
Nova Scotia is in the process of selecting the technology to be utilized at the facility and has narrowed down the options to three candidates. The finalist are Clean Current of Vancouver, Openhydro of Ireland, and Minas Basin Pulp and Power of Nova Scotia partnered with UEK Hydrokinetic Turbine.
“We are grateful for the shared desire today to help create a brand new industry,” said Energy Minister Richard Hurlburt. “And we are pleased to welcome some of the world’s most promising technology to our province. If we combine that technology with Nova Scotia’s offshore expertise, research capacity and enormous tidal resource, this can become a truly outstanding center of excellence.”
In-stream tidal technology utilizes energy of rising and falling tides. The source of this energy is actually the moon, unlike any other form of energy. Moving water currents produce kinetic energy, which can then be converted to electricity with turbines. Ideal sites have a concentration of tidal energy, such as bays or are located between land masses, making it easier to harness energy.
Currently, there are no commercial tidal energy projects in operation globally, but the race is on to harness this source of energy. The next few years will be interesting ones for the advancement of renewable energy technologies globally, in the race for energy solutions.