By Dr. Gerhard Jensen
CEO, SCHOTTEL GmbH, Germany
Nova Scotia is making waves around the world. Energy producers, environmentalists, and innovators around the globe are all looking closely – and applauding – how the province is advancing in-stream tidal power.
Nova Scotia has introduced to the marine renewable energy world the opportunity to sell power while demonstrating technology through one of the world’s first feed-in tariffs for in-stream tidal energy. This means that the many companies working toward tidal power development here in Nova Scotia can bring tidal power to a bankable technology; a technology that is proven to be safe and reliable and worthy of investment.
And perhaps most importantly, Nova Scotia is now in a position to be the first to showcase the integration of power from multiple tidal turbines in arrays into the electrical grid.
Nova Scotia helped to create the first commercial test centre on this continent: The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) and has set a legal target of 40 per cent renewable electricity within this decade. Both the Canadian and Nova Scotian governments are supporting this industry while ensuring that the impact of tidal power on the environment is measured.
This incremental and steady approach to the development of a new technology contributes to forming the way the world views tidal power, and opens the door to improved tidal power operations.
Of course, Nova Scotia is blessed with a natural resource that makes it ideal for tidal power exploration. Every day the Bay of Fundy propels more than 160 billion tonnes of water onto the incoming tide – more than four times the flow of every freshwater river in the world combined. It is a lot of power and one day will be enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes and businesses in Nova Scotia, with some left over for other countries. Indeed, due to the regularity of tidal cycles here, the tidal power industry has the potential to bring predictability to large-scale renewable electricity generation.
Renewable electricity is a cornerstone of greenhouse gas emission reduction and sustainable development. In the case of the Bay of Fundy, tidal energy could displace coal-fired thermal combustion as a source of electricity and help to reduce emissions.
Not surprisingly, there is more work to be done before tidal power becomes a mainstream source of energy for Nova Scotians and a potential export for the province. That work is under way. New tidal technologies will soon be tested in Minas Passage and more feed-in-tariff applications will be approved.
The potential of tidal power is real and Nova Scotia is poised to be a global leader.