Funding approved for tidal energy environmental monitoring


Posted on March 22nd, in Bay of Fundy, Offshore Energy, Tidal Energy.

PRESS RELEASE:  March 22, 2016

HALIFAX, NSThe Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy are jointly funding $250,000 to support an enhanced environmental effects monitoring program at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) site in the Bay of Fundy. The monitoring program is designed to determine the effects of deployment and operation of in-stream tidal turbines in 2016.

“Tidal energy holds tremendous potential for Nova Scotia – both as a producer of clean, renewable energy, and as an economic driver,” said Energy Minister Michel Samson. “The monitoring program at FORCE will provide developers, regulators, researchers and the public with information to better understand the impact of development on the marine environment. It’s an important step in our plan to build and grow a responsible tidal energy sector in Nova Scotia.”

In 2015, Nova Scotia passed the Marine Renewable Energy Act, which provides a clear and responsible path forward for developing Nova Scotia’s marine renewable energy resources, including in-stream tidal energy.

Stephen Dempsey, executive director of the OERA, said: “Environmental monitoring is key to understanding the interactions of marine life with tidal energy devices as they are deployed in the Bay of Fundy this year.”

FORCE’s Environmental Assessment approval requires the implementation of a series of monitoring programs to assess the environmental effects of deployment of new tidal turbines by its berth holders.  To date, FORCE has conducted 20 baseline environmental studies, available online at fundyforce.ca/environment/monitoring.

Tony Wright, general manager of FORCE, says: “If tidal energy is to grow to a larger scale, development must happen responsibly. We have lots of work to do to better understand potential impacts on fish and other marine life. That’s why FORCE is designing an enhanced environmental effects monitoring program, and we’ll ensure all results are made available to the public.”

OERA funding will be used to support monitoring programs related to fish and marine mammals that will extend over most of 2016.  FORCE’s broader EEMP also includes programs aimed at seabirds, lobster and the acoustic environment and was developed in consultation with regulators and its Environmental Monitoring Advisory Committee (EMAC), which consists of independent representation from academia, other recognized experts (e.g. retired government researchers), the local fishing community and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.  The fish and marine mammal programs undertaken by FORCE within the crown lease area will complement similar programs initiated by the berth holders much closer to the turbines themselves.

About FORCE

FORCE is Canada’s lead centre for in-stream tidal energy technology demonstration, located in the Bay of Fundy. FORCE collaborates with industry, government, and researchers to study the interaction between tidal turbines and the Fundy environment, providing research, environmental monitoring, and the electrical infrastructure to deliver power to the grid. FORCE receives funding support from the Government of Canada, the Province of Nova Scotia, and participating developers. More at www.fundyforce.ca.