Jan. 2014: Online petition opposed to tidal barrage across Scots Bay from Cape Split to Baxters Harbour gathers nearly 1,000 signatures. Halcyon Tidal Power of Maine says it will hold a town hall meeting next month in Wolfville to answer questions about the project and dispel concerns. Company president Ted Verril says the project would not operate like a dam but would maintain the full flow of water in and out of the basin during tides. He adds the structure would have three points of entry and exit for marine life to minimize disruption. But Natalie Aalders, who launched the online petition says that at low tide the barrage will look like a 44 foot wall.
Jan. 2014: The French company Alstom announces that it is abandoning its tidal test berth at the FORCE site in the Minas Passage to focus on the 1MW turbine it is testing in Scotland. Energy Minister Andrew Younger says the province has received three bids to fill the vacancy created when Nova Scotia Power abandoned its test site at the end of 2011. He says the province will select two of those bids to fill the NSP and Alstom berths.
Jan. 2014: The Nova Scotia government adopts new regulations designed to facilitate the installation of large-scale tidal turbines in the Minas Passage. The rules outline the process developers will follow in getting their turbines producing power for the grid. The province expects 15 to 20MW of tidal capacity to be installed at the FORCE test site over the next seven years with the first power-generating turbines going into the water in 2015.
Feb. 2014: More than 200 people show up at a town hall meeting organized by Halcyon Tidal Power of Maine. The company wants to build a 10 km tidal barrage system across Scots Bay from Cape Split to Baxters Harbour. Opposition to the project is growing.
March 2014: Lockheed Martin Canada and Atlantis Resources of the UK announce plans to develop a bigger 1.5MW AR1500 turbine to test in the Minas Passage. Atlantis is currently testing a turbine in Scotland.
March 2014: The province awards two vacant berths at the FORCE test site, one of them to a group led by OpenHydro, the developer whose turbine was wrecked in the Minas Passage after deployment in the fall of 2009. Company chairman Thierry Kalanquin says, “Our turbine faced an energy which was 2.5 times bigger than what we expected. From this experience, we developed real knowledge in evaluating the resources of the tide.” Kalanquin adds that the company has designed its new turbine to withstand the energy of the tides. The formerly Irish company OpenHydro is now owned by DCNS Group of France. It will work with Maritime companies Emera, Atlantic Towing, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Irving Equipment to build, install and maintain two 16-metre, 2MW turbines at its site. Plans call for the OpenHydro turbines to be deployed in the summer of 2015.
March 2014: The province also awards a FORCE berth to Black Rock Tidal Power of Halifax, owned by Schottel of Germany and its partners Tidal Stream of the UK as well as a number of Nova Scotia companies, including Atlantic Towing, Allswater, Clearwater, Akoostix Inc., Dynamic Systems Analysis Ltd. and Seaforth Engineering. The group is testing several three-metre 80 kilowatt turbines linked to a semi-submerged floating device.
March 2014: Two other berths at the FORCE test site are held by Minas Energy (formerly Minas Basis Pulp and Power) and partners Siemens and Bluewater Energy Services which plan to install a floating array and Atlantis Resources Ltd. of the UK with partners Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding.
Aug. 2014: The Halifax Chronicle-Herald publishes a letter from science writer Harry Thurston that condemns the proposal to construct a tidal barrage in Scots Bay. “Halcyon Tidal Power’s proposal to dam Scots Bay revives the discredited tidal power projects of the late 1970s which would have seen the Minas and Cumberland Basins dammed, with disastrous consequence for the ecology of the Bay of Fundy,” Thurston’s letter says.
Oct. 2014: FORCE announces the successful installation of the four power cables designed to connect test turbines in the Minas Passage to the electrical grid. Each cable and its reel weighs more than 100 tonnes. The 11 kilometres of cables have a total capacity of 64MW, the most transmission capacity for tidal power in the world.
Nov. 2014: Halifax hosts the International Conference on Ocean Energy. A scientist with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the U.S. tells the conference that more study is needed to determine the potential effects of tidal test turbines on marine life. Andrea Copping adds that scientists don’t know a lot about the waters around some test sites and that strong currents and high tides make them difficult to study. Her laboratory has developed the Annex IV project to study the environmental effects of marine energy devices. in 2013, Annex IV published preliminary information on blade strikes on marine animals, the effects of underwater noise from devices and environmental effects of physical system. So far, Copping says, most of the scientific data is based on studying a single turbine or a small number of them in the water for a short period. She adds that more scientific information will be needed as the industry moves from small-scale testing to large-scale commercial arrays.
Nov. 2014: Four busloads of delegates from the International Conference on Ocean Energy visit the FORCE site. They also take in local attractions in Parrsboro, including the harbour and Main Street, and enjoy a hearty meal at the Parrsboro Legion.
Nov. 2014: OpenHydro and Emera announce a new joint venture called Cape Sharp Tidal with plans to deploy a 4MW array of turbines in the Minas Passage in 2015. The companies say their ultimate goal is to develop up to a 300MW commercial tidal array capable of delivering clean, renewable energy to more than 75,000 customers.
Dec. 2014: The Nova Scotia government approves a total of 17.5MW of tidal electricity generation at the Minas Passage FORCE site: Minas Energy (with partners Marine Current Turbines Ltd. and Bluewater Energy Services) has been granted 4MW; Black Rock Tidal Power, 5MW; Atlantis Operations Canada, 4.5MW and Cape Sharp Tidal Venture (OpenHydro and Emera) 4MW.