Sustainable Energy

Tidal energy project in Canada gets green light from authorities

Key Points
  • The last few years have seen a number of new tidal energy projects take shape.
  • The European Commission has described "ocean energy" as being both abundant and renewable.
Nova Innovation

A Scottish tidal energy business has been issued with a permit to develop a project in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia.

In an announcement earlier this week, Nova Innovation said a total of 15 tidal stream turbines would be installed by the year 2023. The project, according to the firm, will produce enough electricity to power 600 homes.

In its own statement on Wednesday, Nova Scotia's Department of Energy and Mines said the scheme would be up to 1.5 megawatts (MW) in size. Electricity produced by the turbines will be sold to Nova Scotia Power for 50 Canadian cents (38 cents) per kilowatt hour.

"These projects are growing our green economy, creating jobs in rural areas of the province and they have tremendous potential to help in our fight against climate change," Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette said.

The department added that the five-year permit was renewable if Nova Innovation was able to meet performance standards, community engagement conditions and environmental requirements.

The European Commission has described "ocean energy" as being both abundant and renewable. It's estimated that ocean energy could potentially contribute roughly 10% of the European Union's power demand by the year 2050, according to the Commission.

Indeed, tidal power has been around for decades — EDF's 240 MW La Rance Tidal Power Plant in France was built as far back as 1966 — but the last few years have seen a number of new projects take shape.

As well as its scheme in Canada, Nova Innovation's tidal array at Bluemull Sound, Shetland has been producing electricity — and sending it to the grid — for more than three years.

Another firm, Orbital Marine Power, is developing what it describes as the "world's most powerful tidal turbine." The firm says the turbine will have a swept area of more than 600 square meters and be able to generate "over 2 MW from tidal stream resources."

It will use a 72-meter-long "floating superstructure" to support two 1 MW turbines and is slated to be operational in 2020. It will be able to generate electricity for more than 1,700 U.K. homes, according to the business.