Turn of the tide carries opportunity

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The challenges are huge, but so is the potential for gain as work continues to harness tidal power in Nova Scotia from the Bay of Fundy.

Some collaboration never hurts – wisdom guiding the province as it has signed onto a joint tidal research project with the United Kingdom to study the technology. In an article from The Canadian Press, Energy Minister Andrew Younger explains that with the U.K. already producing energy from test turbines, a partnership will mean getting the infrastructure in place in Nova Scotia that much quicker.

Research in both locations and the share of knowledge between the province and U.K. will eliminate duplicated efforts.

The story of trying to harness some of the massive energy in the bay’s ebb and flow has been an involved one. An earlier project for turbine testing just several years ago saw equipment damaged by the heavy tides.

As Nova Scotia moves towards its goal of establishing more renewable energy, its marine energy strategy set in 2012 calls for production of 300 megawatts of tidal power by 2020, the equivalent of power to 100,000 homes. Younger said the transmission infrastructure for that amount won’t be in place by 2020, but Nova Scotians could expect to see capacity for up to 64 MW by that time.

In the overall energy picture, in Pictou County we have construction on a new 4.6 megawatt wind turbine project to begin this summer near Piedmont. The Aulds Mountain Wind Farm benefited from the province’s Community Feed-in Tariff, a program that sees projects move forward through the involvement of local investors.

That is one of many projects in this county – and across the province. A great advantage of the COMFIT program is that it encourages many such modest-sized operations with community involvement.

Alongside the tidal research project we can hope to see innovative developments tapping into other potential sources, providing greener energy and boosting tech-based economy at the same time.

Organizations: Canadian Press, Aulds Mountain Wind Farm

Geographic location: United Kingdom, Nova Scotia, Pictou County Piedmont

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