Industry Updates

Tidal power environmental monitoring projects awarded funding

20 Apr, 2017 • Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA)

Press Release – April 20, 2017

(Halifax, NS) – Industry and academic researchers will join forces to collaborate on two projects in developing new environmental monitoring technologies for tidal energy applications.  The projects were selected for funding through a joint research competition sponsored by the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA), the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and INNOVACORP.  The projects’ combined research value is close to $500,000.

The project winners are Open Seas Instrumentation Inc. (OSI) of Musquodoboit Harbour awarded $135,000 and JASCO Applied Sciences of Dartmouth awarded $65,000 in funding, with the balance of research costs sourced from partner contributions.  Each project introduces an innovative approach to monitoring marine life near a tidal turbine.  The research results will lead to greater understanding of the complex relationships between tidal energy development and the biological and physical ocean environment.

The Open Seas project focuses on the redesign of a subsea platform for monitoring movement and behavior of marine life close to the turbine. The redesign integrates an adjustable structure into the FORCE FAST-2 (Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology) platform so that sensors can collect data from a wide range of viewing perspectives including the face of the turbine.  Project partners are the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE), Acadia University, DSA, and Ocean Moor Technical Services.  Testing will take place in the Minas Passage with project completion set for June 2017.

The JASCO project will develop a long-term monitoring program to measure how sound propagates in turbulent waters so we can better understand how these conditions impact on the ability to acoustically detect marine life.  Researchers will also estimate for different marine organisms, their ability to audibly detect turbines in turbulent waters.  The proposed work will involve the novel integration of different hydrophones and sensor technologies, with testing to be conducted in the Bay of Fundy.  Project partners are Dalhousie University and Luna Ocean Consulting Ltd.   Project completion is set for August 2018.

“Nova Scotia is home to the first grid-connected tidal turbine in North America demonstrating that we have the expertise to harness clean, renewable energy from the highest tides in the world,” said Energy Minister Michel Samson. “However, these are still early days and we will continue to support the growth of this industry in a responsible way that protects the environment, marine life and other ocean industries.”

“The key to developing a sustainable and successful tidal energy industry in Nova Scotia is understanding how turbines interact with the environment in the Bay of Fundy,” says Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director OERA. “These research projects will not only help us enhance how we monitor the environment near an operating turbine, but is expected to bring technology innovation to the sector, that is developed here and exported abroad.”