It’s home to the highest tides in the world and soon, the Minas Passage will also be the test site for a new type of tidal turbine that could transform the race to create renewable energy in Nova Scotia.
“The Bay of Fundy is the Holy Grail,” said Hans van Breugal, president of Tacardo International.
The Dutch-based marine turbine supplier says they have the proven technology that can correctly harness energy in the Bay of Fundy. The Tocardo technology consists of four 250 kilowatt bi-directional open rotor turbine generators which are attached to a floating platform.
“It’s one of the best sites in the world but it’s also a hostile site, we all know that,” van Breugal said.
Minas Tidal plans to use four in-stream turbines, which are similar to wind turbines but underwater and placed in the natural flow of tidal currents.
The platforms are held in place with a mooring system that will allow water flow beneath the turbine which is not anchored to the ocean floor.
The turbines have the ability to generate electricity on the incoming and outgoing tides. After years of tests, the company says the devices have never recorded a single collision between the turbines and marine mammals or fish.
“Our turbine rotates very slow, so it’s already proven that fish will pass it, the fish. We know that, we have experienced that,” added van Breugel.
Michel Samson, the province’s energy minister, says the fact the Bay of Fundy is attracting international attention is good news for the province.
He hopes Nova Scotia will become a global leader in tidal energy.
“It’s expected the tidal energy sector could add up to $1.7 billion in GDP to Nova Scotia over the next 25 years,” Samson said.
On top of testing their tidal turbines in our region, Tocardo International also plans to move their headquarters to Nova Scotia.
“The fact that they have indicated that they want to make Nova Scotia their main headquarters in both North and South America and when it comes to construction and manufacturing, it presents a tremendous opportunity for our province,” Samson said.
It’s anticipated that in-water testing in the Minas Passage will begin in late 2017.
With files from The Canadian Press.