Fundy Tidal Inc., a community-based marine energy developer, has entered into two separate agreements to develop instream tidal power in the waters of Digby Neck and Islands.

A news release from Fundy Tidal said it and Alberta-based New Energy Corporation Inc. will install and operate several tidal turbines in the swift currents of Grand Passage between Brier and Long islands.

The plan is to use New Energy’s 250kilowatt ‘EnCurrent’ generation system, a vertical-axis in-stream hydrokinetic turbine.

Fundy Tidal has also entered into a partnership with Ocean Renewable Power Company of Maine to install its ‘ TidGen’ power system in Petit Passage between Digby Neck and Long Island.

Fundy Tidal says analysis of final site locations will be completed this year, and a single unit will then be installed next year. The projects will then add further turbines with a goal of producing two to five megawatts.

The projects are subject to satisfying all regulatory requirements and support from community stakeholders. The province’s recently enacted Renewable Electricity Plan has established community feed-in tariffs (COMFIT) for 100 megawatts of wind energy, combined heat and power, run-of-river hydro and smallscale in-stream tidal projects in Nova Scotia.

Eligible projects under the COMFIT must be majority owned by community proponents, including a minimum of 25 persons from the community. Utility and Review Board rate hearings began April 4 in Halifax to finalize COMFIT rates for wind, combined heat and power, run-of-river hydro and small-scale in-stream tidal.

A statement from Fundy Tidal said the province expects the application process to begin soon after for submissions from eligible proponents which include municipalities, First Nations, universities, nonprofits, and co-ops and community economic development corporations.

The town and municipality of Digby, for instance, have been looking at erecting a wind turbine and selling power to effectively reduce their joint electrical bills.

Westport village commissioner and Fundy Tidal founder Jim Outhouse said many years of hard work have promoted Digby County as the ideal location to create tidal power and to establish a thriving research and development community and industry hub.

“We have made our living from these waters for generations, and with the downturn of the fishery, we see this new industry as a means to return to more prosperous days and attract new families, businesses and jobs to the region.”

The Petit and Grand passages were identified by the Electronic Power Research Institute as a primary location for development of tidal energy, and resulted in the formation of Fundy Tidal in 2006.

Fundy Tidal president Dana Morin says the creation of a feed-in tariff for tidal power and one that requires community ownership are world firsts. Combined with tidal developments in Minas Passage, the province has solidified its position as the place to demonstrate both large and small-scale devices and connect to the grid with a guaranteed rate.

“Digby County will play a key role not only as a source of green energy production but in providing the infrastructure and expertise required to support and grow the tidal industry in region,” he said.

Story by John DeMings
The Digby County Courier
14 Apr 2011