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.)