Tidal power developments proceed

Andrew
Andrew Wagstaff
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PARRSBORO Interested community members were assured here last night that the future of tidal power development remains promising, but it could be years before any equipment reaches the water.

A strategic environmental assessment on potential sites must be conducted before any tests of the new in-stream tidal technology can be conducted, department of energy representatives told a packed room of citizens at Fundy Geological Museum.

One thing for sure is that the strategic environmental assessment is going to have the duration of one year, said engineer Nancy Rondeaux, who works in the area of markets and climate change. I think its reasonable to think we could have a demonstration ready by the spring of 2009 at the earliest.

Tidal power developments proceed

PARRSBORO Interested community members were assured here last night that the future of tidal power development remains promising, but it could be years before any equipment reaches the water.

A strategic environmental assessment on potential sites must be conducted before any tests of the new in-stream tidal technology can be conducted, department of energy representatives told a packed room of citizens at Fundy Geological Museum.

One thing for sure is that the strategic environmental assessment is going to have the duration of one year, said engineer Nancy Rondeaux, who works in the area of markets and climate change. I think its reasonable to think we could have a demonstration ready by the spring of 2009 at the earliest.

Neither Rondeaux nor policy analysis officer Sandra Farnell would guarantee that the waters near Parrsboro would be chosen for the test sites, but Rondeaux reminded the crowd that of eight potential sites identified off Nova Scotia, the top two with the most potential were the Minas Channel and the Minas Passage.

The presentation was meant to be an update of that given almost one year ago, when the Electronic Power Research Institute (EPRI) representatives were in town to present their study, which identified the Bay of Fundys great potential as a tidal power resource. The same report identified the town of Parrsboro as a possible service port for maintenance ships, etc.

Since then, the provincial government has put up $250,000 for the environmental assessment of offshore energy in the Bay of Fundy, and is examining numerous devices now in production. It has also began laying groundwork for the regulatory process to manage the resource, which featured a trip to the United Kingdom last September by a Nova Scotia team that included Parrsboro Mayor Doug Robinson.

It is an exciting opportunity for Nova Scotia, said Rondeaux. Its an opportunity for us to become leaders in a new form of renewable energy an there are many compelling reasons why we should be considering tidal energy.

Tidal energy has much greater power density than other resources such as wind, is dependable due to its predictability, avoids aesthetic issues because the turbines are submerged, and is capable of future equipment upgrades.

Farnell and Rondeaux fielded several questions from the public, most concerning the timeframe for the development and the possibility of Parrsboro becoming a base of operations for its workers. Nova Scotia Power representatives were also on hand as observers.

awagstaff@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Electronic Power Research Institute, Fundy Geological Museum, Minas Channel Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: PARRSBORO, Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundys Bay of Fundy United Kingdom

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