PARRSBORO - Sub-sea power cables will be installed in the Minas Passage later this year, while turbines will go under water in 2013.
That was the message in a public presentation here on Jan. 9, as more than 80 people packed the Parrsboro Fire Hall to hear the latest update on the developments of the tidal power industry.
"It was good to see a turnout like that, especially at this time of year, being January and cold," said Mary McPhee, manager of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) visitor centre. "The purpose was more to share information with folks about where the project is at now, what is next, and where the actions are."
A presentation came from FORCE executive director Doug Keefe, who offered information on the science of tidal power, and the limitations of how far the local project can go, e.g. how many turbines can go in the water without causing environmental damage.
Also presenting was John Woods, chairman of FORCE and vice-president of energy development at Minas Basin Pulp and Power, one of the berth holders designing a turbine for the site. Woods spoke about the types of energy that can be produced by the varying systems, providing some technical engineering information.
"It was good for a lot of people to see how the turbines actually work, and why it's possible to put something so small on the ocean floor, and the different ways of engineering it so it's not damaged and doesn't cause damage," said McPhee.
Also offering greetings were politicians of every level, from Parrsboro Mayor Lois Smith and Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter, to Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie and Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong.
A question and answer period focused on environmental effects, and costs of producing the energy in comparison with other projects such as a hydroelectric dam.
Work now in progress includes construction of the electrical substation in West Bay that is about two months away from completion. That substation will convert and reduce the energy coming in from the turbines before it enters the transmission line. Meanwhile, another project is seeing a path cut overland through the wooded region between West Bay and the power generating station in New Prospect, where the power will hook into the grid.
A dry test run of the equipment is planned for the spring, followed by the installation of sub-sea cable in August of this year. Installation of the turbines will follow, with Minas Basin Pulp and Power expected to put a device in the water in early 2013.