September 5-12, 2005

Study will probe use of new technology to harness tidal energy

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and five U.S. states have joined forces to pay for a feasibility study on the use of tidal flow generators in the Bay of Fundy.

The $425,000 study will be carried out by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), in Palo Alto, California. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will each contribute $60,000 (U.S.); other partners include the states of Maine, Massachusetts, Washington and Alaska, and the city of San Francisco. The data from all the study locations will be shared among all the study sponsors.

The newest generation of tidal power turbines resembles wind turbines. Submerged in the water, the generators use fast-moving tidal currents to create electricity. The turbines stand alone, anchored on the seabed, and are not visible from shore.

"The tidal currents in the Bay of Fundy seem to be ideal for generating electricity," said Energy Minister Cecil Clarke, "but we need to have experimental data that will show whether it's practical to use this emerging technology in our coastal environment."

"Nova Scotia has significant in-stream tidal energy resources and the technologies able to harness these resources are becoming available," said EPRI's Roger Bedard. "The big question is whether it makes sense for Nova Scotia and the other regions to invest in tidal in-stream energy conversion technology. We will answer that question for the province by March 2006 within the context of this study."

Nova Scotia Power is playing a key role in the new study. The company already has one of three tidal power plants in the world at its Annapolis Power Tidal facility, and Annapolis Royal. "Our customers told us they want more renewables and we're listening to them. That's why we're bringing on wind power in this province and seeking ways to harness more power from the tides," said NS Power president and CEO Chris Huskilson.

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