Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monster turbines gear up to harness Fundy tidal power

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 Fishermen wary as three firms get government nod for pilot projects
HALIFAX From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
The first of three turbines is expected to go into the Bay of Fundy next month in spite of concerns raised by some local fishermen after the government approved the initial phase of a tidal energy project.

Nova Scotia's Minister of the Environment, a long-time fisherman himself, acknowledged those concerns and acknowledged that the possible effects are unknown. But Sterling Belliveau said the only way to identify problems is to start installing turbines and closely monitor the result.
"These questions are only going to be addressed [if] you have a demonstration project," he said yesterday after approving the trial based on an environmental assessment.

"I think you basically cannot sit in a conference room and get the answer to that, you have to go out in the real life, in the real world."

A full-scale tidal energy project, if viable, would involve hundreds of turbines and could produce about 100 megawatts from the bay's huge tides. That would be 10 per cent of the province's energy needs, but such a system is years away.

The demonstration phase of the project, involving three turbines, is expected to cost $60-million to $70-million. Each of the three companies involved - which will co-operate on environmental monitoring and onshore development - intends to test a different type of turbine.

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Photo Credit: Province of NS