Completion of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Background Report for Cape Breton

Posted on January 17th, in Strategic Environmental Assessment, Tidal Energy.

PRESS RELEASE – Date:  January 17, 2013

The Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA) announces the completion of the Cape Breton SEA Background Report – a comprehensive study aimed at exploring the social, economic and environmental features and effects associated with marine renewable energy projects in coastal Cape Breton and the Bras d’Or Lakes.

The Background Report is the first step in the SEA process and will follow with a consultation component. Together, the Background Report and consultation results will serve to guide if, where and under what conditions marine renewable development will take place in Cape Breton. The SEA Background Report was commissioned by the NS Department of Energy and the report completed by AECOM Canada Ltd. The Report may be viewed on the OERA website.

The report is a valuable reference tool for residents, project developers, First Nations communities, and regulators interested in the industry. The Report features:

• Existing biophysical and socio-economic environments;

• Identification of areas with resource potential for tidal, offshore wind and offshore wave (coastal and Bras d’Or Lakes);

• Current state of marine renewable energy (MRE) and technologies

• Tidal energy development scenarios

• Key environmental issues, potential environment-development interactions and mitigation strategies

Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director of OERA, reports that “the Cape Breton Strategic Environmental Assessment encourages everyone to get involved. Public input throughout the process is vital in order to better understand the issues and challenges before decisions are made on tidal energy projects in the Cape Breton region. Small scale in-stream tidal energy has the potential to become an alternative to coal-based electricity in Nova Scotia, but first we need to gather valuable advice and input from the Cape Breton communities.”

OERA will be seeking public comments from interested stakeholders on the Background Report. Public comments, through written submissions, will be very important in developing findings and recommendations for the final SEA which will be completed by the fall of 2013.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) for the consultation component of the SEA has been released and proposals have been received. The proponent will be determined over the coming weeks. Community forums will commence in the spring of 2013, and will provide opportunities to learn more about the SEA process and tidal technologies, to ask questions, share information and raise issues or concerns.

OERA is an independent, not-for-profit organization that funds and facilitates collaborative offshore energy and environmental research and development including examination of renewable energy resources and their interaction with the marine environment. OERA’s mission is to lead environmental, renewable and geoscience energy research that enables the sustainable development of Nova Scotia energy resources through strategic partnerships with academia, government and industry. OERA has completed over 63 research projects in the areas of tidal, marine sound and geosciences with a research investment to date of over $26 million dollars.