Nova Scotia has taken another world-leading step in establishing a market for tidal energy with a feed-in-tariff (FIT) covering the first array power plants. The Bay of Fundy tides have long been an amazing prospect for energy generation, but with today’s decision by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, the business of making that energy a reality has been launched. The Nova Scotia Government is targeting a 15-20MW capacity for this phase of the industry development.
The main projects will receive power purchase agreements of $530/MWh, recognizing that they are the pioneer projects on a path to making marine renewable energy competitive. In fact, some shorter term test projects may be eligible for a price of $575/MWh. These projects will be at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE), involving some of the world’s leading project and technology developers. FORCE, set up in 2008, is the only collaborative effort in the world that is developing offshore connections for industrial-scale tidal energy pilot projects.
With the highest tides in the world, the Bay of Fundy has always been a draw for the marine renewable energy industry. Now with more data gathered and knowledge about the currents and environment, project teams will be better equipped to make design and development decisions. With the market decision in place to allow developers to plan for the next fifteen years, project teams can commit to the business of development, and raising the finances needed.
“This market commitment is a critical step in ensuring that Nova Scotian knowledge and business capability are demonstrated in one of the world’s first pilot tidal power plants. The payback we expect to see is Canadians working all over the world as others move to catch up,” commented Elisa Obermann of Marine Renewables Canada. Nova Scotia’s Energy Minister, Andrew Younger, will be joining delegates to the Marine Renewables Canada annual conference in Ottawa next week.
The strategy being pursued by Nova Scotia is garnering the world’s attention. Over the past year, companies from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Japan, and
China have visited the province with interests in tidal energy development. It has also served to attract the world’s most significant marine renewable energy event. The 5th International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE), hosted by Marine Renewables Canada, will be held in Halifax this time next year.