Parrsboro could be chosen as a location to assemble and repair tidal turbines according to the site development manager for Cape Sharp Tidal.
During last night’s open house at the Parrsboro Fire Hall, Nick Fyffe said the company wants facilities to assemble and maintain future turbines closer to the sites where they will be deployed.
The two that are scheduled to be lowered into the waters at the FORCE site near Black Rock this year were manufactured by Aecon Group Inc. in Dartmouth and are now being assembled in Pictou before being brought by barge to the Minas Passage.
“Taking the turbines round from Pictou,” Fyffe said, “is probably the furthest point you can get in Nova Scotia from where we’re actually deploying them. It’s not the most efficient way to do things.”
He added that’s OK for now because the first, two-turbine project at the FORCE site is small, but he is now planning three more phases that would involve many more turbines. Phase II planned for 2017 would require six; Phase III in 2019 would need 25 and Phase IV sometime in the 2020s would require 150.
“Once you get to the larger and larger projects,” Fyffe said, “you’re starting to install more and more turbines, you’re taking them out for maintenance at some point as well, it really will be of great benefit to have a site onshore to support that.”
Could Parrsboro be chosen?
When asked if Parrsboro could be in the running for such facilities, Fyffe replied, “Certainly, I don’t see why not. It’s obviously very close to the FORCE site and probably one of the other sites we would go into in the Minas Passage.”
He added that it would depend on whether there’s land available and other infrastructure to support manufacturing and maintenance facilities.
“All options are on the table and Parrsboro’s certainly one that would be in there,” he said. “We’re happy to talk to the local council here and provide them with information that might help to see if they could offer something for us.”
Fyffe said the company hasn’t selected other possible sites to generate tidal electricity yet, but the wider Minas Passage is a strong possibility for future development because of its strong currents and tides.
Brand new industry
Fyffe came to Canada from Scotland six years ago. His background is in shipbuilding, but he says it’s exciting to be working on tidal power.
“It’s not very often you get the opportunity to work in something that’s brand new,” he says. “It’s an emerging industry, people are interested in it, people are excited about it and we are too,” he adds.
“It’s a great opportunity for Nova Scotia to be a global leader in this industry. We’ve got a great resource in our backyard and if we can exploit that and send our expertise to other sites around the world, it’s a great chance for Nova Scotia.”
They’re putting in a turbine before they have the data about the conditions at the site, which is expected to be provided by an instrument that’s not yet in the water, but should give information to guide the design of the turbine. Back to front?