Big Moon Power has been granted two permits to test its unique tidal generating system in the Minas Passage along the north shore of the Blomidon Peninsula near Cape Split.
The first permit allows the Halifax-based company to test a 100-kilowatt prototype for up to 14 months.
The second five-year, renewable permit will allow Big Moon to install up to five megawatts of generating capacity and sell the electricity to Nova Scotia Power (NSP).
Big Moon will receive 35 cents per kilowatt hour, considerably less than the 53 cent rate Cape Sharp Tidal was paid last year at the FORCE site on the opposite side of the Minas Passage. (The Cape Sharp turbine was removed from its test site last June and moved to Saint John, N.B. where it is undergoing repairs and testing.)
Meantime, the Nova Scotia government has set a cap on the amount of power that Big Moon can sell each year at the full rate, presumably to limit the overall cost to NSP ratepayers. After the cap is reached, the company will get an incremental rate. (The cap is blacked out in the permit documents.)
In today’s news release, Energy Minister Geoff MacLellan is quoted as saying that Nova Scotia is at the forefront in the development of tidal energy technology.
“Demonstration projects like this will help drive innovation, competition and ultimately lower renewable energy prices,” he adds.
Big Moon’s technology consists of an on-shore generator with a drum that has a high-strength marine rope wrapped around it.
The polymer rope is attached to a tidal barge in the water with a perpendicular piece of steel, called a kinetic keel, on its bottom.
When the tides ebb and flow, the keel moves with the current and as the barge travels slowly away and then comes closer to shore, the rope turns the drum to generate power.
Big Moon has already tested prototype devices in the Minas Basin and Bay of Fundy in 2016 and again, last year.
The provincial department of energy has imposed certain conditions on the testing projects including the requirement that the five megawatt one undergo an environmental assessment before it proceeds.
Big Moon will also be required to conduct environmental monitoring and hold consultations with local people and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.
To read the full text of the permits announced today, click here.