May 23, 2005

New Brunswick signs on as partner in EPRI study of tidal power

The province of New Brunswick will participate in a preliminary study on the potential of tidal power being carried out by the California-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The site-specific study includes an assessment of the feasibility of tidal power off the New Brunswick coastline. It will delineate potential projects and determine demonstration sites.

The project will assess the potential for power generation from tidal flow using simple turbines installed on the seabed rather than traditional containment dams. This new technology is considered more environmentally friendly.

The provincial government has committed $30,000 (U.S.) to the project; another $30,000 in funding from two other New Brunswick agencies is being finalized. Contributions from other partners will bring the total value of the study to $350,000, once all funding is confirmed.

New Brunswick is one of several participants in a larger study, with others including Maine, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, the U.S. Department of Energy, the city of San Francisco, Alaska and Washington. Provincial Energy Minister Bruce Fitch said that since there are others involved in the study, it will give New Brunswick and the other partners access to greater expertise and data than would have been the case if each jurisdiction were to do separate studies.

"It has been a long time since tidal power has been looked at seriously in our province, and we all know the importance of a diverse power supply," Fitch said. "It is important for us to examine all possibilities for the future-not only reliable and affordable but also environmentally sustainable ways to generate electricity."

EPRI has over 30 years of experience in the research field and is recognized as a world leader in creating new energy technologies. The independent, non-profit organization was established in 1973 to manage broad public-private collaborative research programs on behalf of the electric utility industry, its customers, and society at large.

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