Two huge companies are getting $6.3 million in federal tax money to support their planned tidal project in the Minas Passage near Parrsboro.
The lucky recipients are tidal developer OpenHydro, now owned by the French giant DCNS Group, one of Europe’s biggest naval shipbuilders, and Emera Inc., the proud parent of Nova Scotia Power.
The companies are partners in Cape Sharp Tidal which plans to install a pair of two megawatt turbines at the FORCE site this fall. The 16-metre turbines are being built in partnership with Irving Shipbuilding, itself the lucky recipient of a $260 million “forgiveable” loan from Nova Scotia taxpayers in 2012. As Frank Magazine reported at the time: “Forgiveable, meaning, you know, it’s on us.”
A federal news release claims the Cape Sharp Tidal project will produce electricity at a cost of 14.7 cents per kilowatt hour by 2020. That seems unlikely given that 15-year rates for tidal turbines at the FORCE site, set by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, average 47.5 cents per kilowatt hour — more than three times the rate that home electricity users pay today.
It has indeed been a huge cost to taxpayers with no end in sight. Although there is no proof tidal power in the Bay of Fundy is even possible the government has already erected transmission lines. The first turbine failed because, ‘they didn’t know how fast the current was because the instrument used was inaccurate)’ (Quote from a presentation to our council). Now several years later they plan to deploy another set of sensors to measure currents as well as other parameters, but before getting that data they plan to deploy a turbine anyway.
The government has been sold on the idea of tidal power and are pouring money into it, but are not doing so in a sensible manner and private industry is getting the benefit.