Big marine companies seek to seize OpenHydro, Cape Sharp tidal assets

German cargo ship BBC Emerald was used to transport tidal equipment from Ireland to Canada

Two big marine companies are seeking to seize assets involved in the Cape Sharp Tidal testing project at the FORCE site in the Minas Passage near Parrsboro, N.S.

Documents filed with the Federal Court of Canada show that the German firm, BBC Chartering, is seeking to “arrest” the school-bus-sized Turbine Control Centre (TCC) attached to the Cape Sharp turbine that now sits on the floor of Minas Passage.

The TCC converts the raw electrical power the turbine produces into grid-compatible electricity. (Click here to read Cape Sharp’s more detailed explanation.)

In a sworn affidavit filed with the court, the German ship chartering company claims that the Irish-based turbine developer, OpenHydro Technology Canada Ltd., owes it more than $877,000 partly for transporting the TCC from Ireland to Saint John, N.B. earlier this year. (To read the affidavit, click here.)

Cape Sharp Tidal Inc. is jointly owned by OpenHydro (80%) and Emera, parent company of Nova Scotia Power. Nearly two weeks ago, OpenHydro’s French parent company, Naval Energies, told an Irish court that OpenHydro was “seriously insolvent” with debts of $426 million. Naval Energies said it would no longer support OpenHydro.

Meantime, Halifax-based RMI Marine, a contractor that provides diving and other marine support services, is seeking to “arrest” the Scotia Tide, the specially built barge that was used to deploy the Cape Sharp turbine on July 22.

In an affidavit filed on its behalf, RMI Marine claims it’s owed $444,719.54 for services it provided between April and July when the Cape Sharp turbine was deployed. (To read that affidavit, click here.)

Dead in the water?

Today’s edition of the online publication, Halifax Examiner, carries a report by freelance journalist Jennifer Henderson asking if OpenHydro’s financial collapse signals an end to the large-scale development of tidal power in the Bay of Fundy.

Henderson points out that more than $36 million in public money has been invested in connection with tidal development at the FORCE site, but so far, only one turbine developer, OpenHydro, has deployed there.

She points to a 2015 report written by William Lahey, then a Dalhousie law professor who is now president of the University of King’s College in Halifax.

Although Lahey held out hope for the long-term future of Bay of Fundy tidal power, he also raised questions about whether it could compete commercially with other sources of renewable electricity including the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project from Newfoundland and Labrador that will soon supply power to Nova Scotia and beyond.

(To read Lahey’s report, click here.)

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3 Responses to Big marine companies seek to seize OpenHydro, Cape Sharp tidal assets

  1. Rima Azar says:

    Thank you for this informative article.
    $36 million dollars is A LOT of public money to invest. Is it worth it (even if it worked)?

  2. Gordon Heffler says:

    Wellllllll! Now the chickens are comin’ home to roost! As I have stated right here from the very get-go…that this was an absolutely misguided venture bound to failure at a cost to you and I big time! Yup that is exactly how it is playing out. Remember when I said that a single electron of profitable electricity would never flow out of this mega-monster….well now that also has come to pass as the bottom feeders circle this piece of xxxx that is left laying on the bottom of the Bay looking to grab something of value as the project enters palliative care. We the people somehow should have never let this happen but how could we have stopped it looking back as now it is all in death-throws. Ler any and all the world hear this…”making electricity from the flowing waters of the world’s most unique Bay Of Fundy is NOT an option, yesterday. today or tomorrow”…forget it and maybe these dreamers who hood-winked everyone should go try to harness the solar wind because all they have done here is blow smoke with this, another “made in nova scotia” financial disaster. Maybe it’s time for the province to re-take control of NSPower as they, as usual, seem ripe for loosing money on every passing whim in the name of progress! How much will this mess cost each of us Nova Scotia citizens individually? I hazard a guess that we will never know but wait a year or two and we’ll find out likely through the due-diligence of reporters such as the editor here. Thank you Bruce for keeping us informed about happenings both good and bad and thanks for doing what you do so well right here in WordPress. -Gordon Heffler

  3. ChemE says:

    Reblogged this on Dark Matters a Lot and commented:
    Epic Fail. Dumbasses left a spinning 2,000,000 watt generator at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy that generates dangerous high voltages. If they kill our Maine lobster there will be hell to pay.

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