OERA Announces Two Strategic Environmental Assessments

PRESS RELEASE – Date: April 29, 2013

HALIFAX, NS – OERA (Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia) is pleased to announce that two Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) of marine renewable energy have been awarded and are underway. OERA has awarded a contract to Stantec Consulting to undertake a SEA Consultative Process in the Cape Breton Region, inclusive of the Bras D’Or Lakes; and a contract to AECOM Ltd to update the 2008 Bay of Fundy SEA.

Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director of OERA, spoke to the importance of the SEA process as it is a method to understand the concerns of stakeholders and the various opportunities it provides. Tidal energy can help fill a growing global demand for renewable energy and enable Nova Scotia to meet its renewable energy targets. Strategic Environmental Assessments are essential and are completed through monitoring and protection, maintaining high standards, public reporting and by providing ongoing opportunities for public and stakeholder engagement.

“A Strategic Environmental Assessment is a future oriented environmental assessment process to help us identify the most sustainable way to develop tidal energy in Nova Scotia, before decisions have to be made about specific projects. Our intention from the outset of the SEA is to maintain an open and transparent process, encouraging everyone to get involved. OERA’s investment in research for offshore energy is crucial. Research is vital to creating viable, sustainable technologies that will provide a competitive industry in Nova Scotia.”

The SEA process provides an opportunity for community groups, residents, municipalities, Mi’kmaq communities, not-for profits, and other interested parties to influence decisions relating to planning, policies, regulation and management. The SEA also advises the Government of Nova Scotia on whether, when and how marine renewable energy technologies should be planned, developed and regulated and managed.

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’s members are Acadia University, St. Francis Xavier University, Cape Breton University, Saint Mary’s University, Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Department of Energy.