Nova Scotia company to build subsea base for tidal project

Irish developer OpenHydro awarded a C$1.7 million (US$1.5 million) contract to a Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, company to build a subsea base for a tidal energy demonstration project in the province’s Bay of Fundy.

Nova Scotia Energy Minister Barry Barnet announced April 30 OpenHydro selected Cherubini Metal Works to build the subsea base on the bay floor.

The base will provide foundations for OpenHydro and partner Nova Scotia Power to install OpenHydro’s first 1-MW turbine in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage area. Roughly the height of a two-story house, the 10-meter-diameter turbine could generate electricity to power 800 homes.

The subsea base is expected to create 25 jobs over several months, with work expected to be complete by August, the government said. Pending environmental approvals, the turbine is expected to go into the water in the fall.

OpenHydro is one of three developers named to pursue tidal demonstrations projects in the Bay of Fundy. The others are Minas Basin Pulp and Power, partnered with Marine Current Turbines, and Clean Current Turbines. (HNN 1/30/09)

The proposed site for all three turbines is in the Minas Passage area of the Bay of Fundy, about 10 kilometers west of Parrsboro. Researchers identified the Bay of Fundy as potentially the best site for tidal power generation in North America, with a resource close to an existing grid and potential consumers.

Nova Scotia’s 2009 Energy Strategy sets a target of at least 25 percent renewable electricity supply by 2020. Tidal energy has the potential to help meet that target, the government said in commenting on the contract award.

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