De Pietro-owned energy company gets fifth berth at FORCE tidal site

Maureen De Pietro

Maureen De Pietro

Simon De Pietro

Simon De Pietro

An Irish renewable energy company is increasing its stake in the tidal test site at Black Rock in the Minas Passage.

DP Energy has been awarded a fifth spot (Berth E) at the FORCE site west of Parrsboro. The company already had a 50 per cent stake in Berth C along with its partner, the Singapore-based Atlantis Resources.

Sarah Levy MacLeod, who speaks for the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, says DP Energy and Atlantis will collaborate on Berth C. Plans call for the installation of three 1.5 megawatt, AR1500 turbines, possibly in 2017.

MacLeod says DP Energy will develop Berth E on its own where it also plans to install three 1.5 megawatt turbines.

DP Energy was founded more than 20 years ago by Maureen De Pietro and her son Simon. The company is involved in wind, solar and tidal projects all over the world.

DP Energy and the other tidal developers at the FORCE site will be paid 53 cents for each kilowatt hour they feed into the Nova Scotia Power grid. That’s more than three times the 15-cent rate that residential customers pay now.

The Nova Scotia government has promised, however, that it will not allow electricity rates to rise by more than two per cent over the next four to six years because of the costs of developing tidal power.

Meantime, Cape Sharp Tidal, a partnership between the French-owned company OpenHydro and Emera Inc., announced last month that it has delayed deployment of its two test turbines at the FORCE site until next spring.

Amendments to tidal legislation

In other news, amendments to the law that governs the development of marine renewable energy are making their way through the Nova Scotia legislature.

Energy Minister Michel Samson told the House yesterday that the changes are designed to maintain public confidence in tidal power.

“We’ve significantly strengthened the provisions requiring the collection of environmental information – from baseline data to environmental effects,” Samson said.

He added that the government will also have the power to share such information with regulators including the environment department and the federal department of fisheries and oceans.

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