West Bay -
Spectators from land, sea and air watched in excitement as the largest in-stream tidal device in North America was installed offshore near Black Rock here on Thursday, Nov. 12.
"Today is a great day in the history of Nova Scotia," said Energy Minister Bill Estabrooks. "Tidal energy offers Nova Scotians many opportunities - new jobs, cleaner energy and the use of resources we have in our own backyard. That's the dream, and the tidal project team has dedicated itself to help make it a reality."
Tugboats towed the massive turbine, which had sat overnight in a protected cove, to its Black Rock location on Thursday afternoon, with the benefit of sunny skies and calm seas. The turbine was submerged quickly, with no apparent problems.
As cars and onlookers lined the shore, news helicopters circled overhead and two fishing boats anchored nearby to take in the show. On one of the boats was a delegation of representatives from a community liaison committee.
"It was so fun," said Lois Smith, co-chair of the committee. "There was a strange aura. It was something really exciting for everyone aboard."
Joining Smith on the cruise, which was skippered by Croyden Wood Jr., were various members of her committee, along with representatives from the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association (CREDA), Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott and others.
At one point during the trip, while CREDA board chairman Gerald Read was snapping photos, and onlookers gathered along West Bay Road, Smith said she looked up and noticed two long clouds above them, crossed in a perfect 'X'.
"I said to the others, we're making history here," she said. "X marks the spot."
The group became even more excited, she said, during their trip back to the Parrsboro wharf, when committee co-chairman Joe Kozak received a call on his cell phone to inform him that the turbine was operating.
The 400-tonne turbine was installed by Nova Scotia Power and its technology partner, OpenHydro of Ireland. It is OpenHydro's largest device operating in the world, and together with the sub-sea base built by Cherubini Metal Works in Dartmouth, is estimated to be six storeys high.
The one-megawatt turbine is now operational, rotating with the tides, collecting data and producing energy.
"Today begins a very important period of testing that we believe will demonstrate that tidal energy can be part of Nova Scotia's renewable energy future," said Rob Bennett, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power. "Working with OpenHydro, we are proud to be the first to deploy and test a commercial-scale tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy and look forward to the learnings ahead."
All tidal devices installed at the project site must adhere to strict environmental conditions and monitoring. The site, managed by the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE), has approval to operate three different tidal devices. Two more of differing designs will are expected to be installed in the spring.