Cape Sharp Tidal’s Bay of Fundy MHK turbine project seeking additional information

Cape Sharp Tidal

According to an announcement from Cape Sharp Tidal this week, their joint venture between Emera Inc. and OpenHydro is seeking additional information before scheduled deployment of a set of 2-MW Open-Centre marine hydrokinetic (MHK) ducted turbines at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Cape Sharp Tidal scheduled the move of the five-story-tall turbines from Pictou, the week of June 5, for installation in the Minas Passage in late June or early July. But, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), area fishermen, scientists and the general public have expressed concerns about appropriate monitoring measures in place prior to moving forward with installing and operating the first two experimental turbines.

According to project details, Cape Sharp Tidal is seeking to use the initial 4-MW farm as the first phase of a commercial-scale project, subject to regulatory approvals.

According to published reports, however, DFO agreed the project should still go ahead.

But, Paul Laberge, project lead for Emera, said the company is placing additional project activity on hold. The company has consulted extensively with area stakeholders, he said, but wants to speak further with all involved before continuing with deployment.

No date has been announced for project continuation and the cost of the delay has not been released.

DFO

DFO reviewed FORCE’s first research and monitoring results report for a single turbine in 2012. According to DFO, “insufficient research and monitoring had been undertaken to evaluate the effects of the [turbine] on valued ecosystem components of the Bay of Fundy.”

FORCE produced a follow-up baseline report and hired UK-based SLR Consulting -- a privately owned international environmental consultancy with offices in Europe, North America, Australia, and Africa -- to create a proposed five-year Environmental Effects Monitoring Program (EEMP). FORCE submitted both documents to DFO for review in 2015.

In April of this year, DFO released their report, Review of the Environmental Effects Monitoring Program for the Fundy Tidal Energy Project. Report findings indicate FORCE’s follow-up baseline report and SLR’s proposed EEMP are lacking in the following areas:

  • Inability to monitor mortality -- Inability to sufficiently account for the interaction of turbines with fishes or marine mammals, including monitoring mortality levels;
  • Lack of knowledge on turbine interactions with wildlife -- Inability to characterize interactions between species of interest (i.e., Atlantic Sturgeon, American Eel, Atlantic Salmon, and Striped Bass) and turbines as well as inadequate monitoring of the effect turbines may have on lobster in the region;
  • Gaps in baseline data -- Insufficient baseline monitoring to provide a proper understanding of the Minas Passage marine environment, and gaps in baseline data sets, where studies were not conducted year round to determine the presence of marine mammals in the proposed test region, resulting in an inability to monitor and measure behavioral changes that turbines may cause;
  • Lack of accounting for spatial and temporal changes -- Inadequate provisions for monitoring varying presence of fish during winter months, including Striped Bass and inability to monitor changes of mid-field area use for Harbor Porpoises;
  • Lack of accounting for effects of scaling up -- Lack of provisions to account for scaling up or intensifying of effects between turbines and marine life as more turbines are installed in the area;
  • Lack of technology specifications -- Insufficient information exists to determine if sonar technology can identify marine fish to the species level, and an inadequate level of detail regarding proposed technologies to be used and their configuration; and
  • Lack of mitigation measures -- Insufficient mitigative measures are identified should negative impacts arise as a result of testing.

The provincial government and FORCE have done more than 70 impact studies ahead of the project. If the the first phase of the project is successful, Cape Sharp Tidal said the development could grow to an output of 16 MW [six more turbines] in 2017; 50 MW [17 more turbines] in 2019; and up to 300 MW [150 more turbines] of energy in the 2020s.

Cape Sharp tidal estimates the system could eventually generate power for nearly 75,000 customers.

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