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article imageUsing the Bay of Fundy's remarkable tides for renewable energy

By Karen Graham     Nov 9, 2016 in Technology
Parrsboro - A huge tidal turbine was lowered into place on the seabed Monday at a test site near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. A spokesperson for Cape Sharp Tidal said the 1,000 ton turbine was set in place during an ebb tide that lasted four hours.
"I believe it's a huge milestone in the tidal industry," said Jeremy Poste, the manager of Cape Sharp Tidal, a joint venture between Emera Inc. and OpenHydro, a DCNS company, reports CTV News.
"At the completion of the project we will be able to demonstrate the technical and financial viability of tidal," Poste added. Cape Sharp Tidal spokeswoman Sarah Dawson said that the company is installing one turbine this year. And the Bay of Fundy, with the highest and lowest tidal flow in the world, is the perfect place to harness tidal energy.
Alma in the Bay of Fundy - TIDE OUT
Alma in the Bay of Fundy - TIDE OUT
Matt Kingston
The monster-sized five-story tidal turbine was supposed to be installed over the weekend, but was postponed for additional preparation work. Over the next few days, the turbine will be connected to the power grid and it is expected to begin generating electricity.
The turbine will be connected to the power grid through a sub-sea cable and will begin generating electricity in the next few weeks, says Poste. It will eventually generate enough electricity to supply 1,000 homes, reports the Globe and Mail.
The partnership will eventually install a pair of two-megawatt, in-stream tidal turbines at the Parrsboro site, making it North America's first tidal array connected to an electrical grid. There are several companies planning to test different technologies in the Bay of Fundy.
Dawson noted that there has been concern about the impact of the turbine on marine life. According to CTV News, a spokesman for the 175-member Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association said his group is upset because the turbine was installed in the middle of the lobster season.
The association is accusing Cape Sharp Tidal of deliberately waiting until the fleet was out to do the installation of the turbine. Spokesman Colin Sproul says, "We're scared that we will lose a lot of buoy lines and when the buoys are lost the traps continue to ghost fish and then ... there's the risk of damaged gear being set adrift and becoming entangled with whales."
The technology is "very cool and innovative"
Dawson told Motherboard that "With 10 years of similar devices we've installed in Scotland. there hasn’t been a single incident where any marine mammal, dolphin or whale, has collided."
Workers connect the turbines’ power and data systems to an existing 16MW subsea export cable at th...
Workers connect the turbines’ power and data systems to an existing 16MW subsea export cable at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE). This cable is connected to the onshore substation.
Cape Sharp Tidal
Dawson said the Bay of Fundy turbines are mounted two meters off the seafloor, high enough for sea creatures to travel under or above them, and depending on the tide, the turbines are 10 to 20 meters below the ocean surface, allowing boats to pass over them safely.
Dawson said, that besides being "cool and innovative, the marine technology is cutting-edge. Sonars are mounted on the turbine to detect any creatures moving through the water column. Algorithms are programmed to identify what’s moving through the water column towards the turbine,” Dawson continued. “It picks up or discards what’s moving [towards it], based on whether it’s a living organism."
“We would like, at some point, to see more turbines in the water,” Dawson told Motherboard. “We’re really focused on the demonstration phase. We have a lot to learn.”
More about Bay of Fundy Canada, Tidal power, giant turbine, Lobster fishermen, Marine life
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