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Canadian Marine Energy Makes Waves in 2013


Tidal power - 600

For Canadian companies and institutions working to harness the power of waves, tides, and rivers, 2013 has proven a momentous year.

On the east coast, Nova Scotia implemented its Marine Renewable Energy Strategy, and in November released another feed-in tariff (FIT) for utility-scale projects, creating with a pen stroke the world’s most favorable market for tidal energy.

Further, the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy, or FORCE—the nation’s leading research centre for in-stream tidal energy—recently released a request for proposals for companies that would like to occupy a vacant development berth. Last week, Nova Scotia welcomed three bid submissions from major players in the marine renewable energy industry that are keen to get a space in the Bay of Fundy facility.

The sheer power potential of the Bay of Fundy alone is a draw for an industry. Companies that can operate in a location that moves about 160 billion tonnes of water each tide cycle will be able to operate anywhere in the world. Last week, FORCE advanced the tidal industry one step closer to developing commercial projects in the bay by successfully installing the first subsea cable in the Minas Passage. The cable, connected to a recoverable underwater research platform, will provide valuable site data to developers, researchers, and regulators.

Further down the Bay, community projects led by Fundy Tidal—a company that focuses on locally-owned and operated ventures to create economic development opportunities—are progressing with new partnerships, including one with British Columbia-based Clean Current to demonstrate its next-generation technology in the fall of 2014.

Outside of Nova Scotia and beyond tidal energy, we are also seeing movement in wave and river current renewables. Earlier this year, Natural Resources Canada’s ecoEnergy Innovation Initiative funded several projects, including the West Coast Wave Initiative in British Columbia, and the Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Test Centre in Manitoba.

These strategic initiatives combined with FORCE’s focus on tidal will help to develop Canada’s marine renewable energy industry. They will also help build Canada’s leadership in all three areas of marine renewable energy—wave, river current, and tidal—with expertise developing across the country that can be exported to an emerging world market.

With all this activity, especially around the Bay of Fundy, it appears that 2014 will be even more interesting and exciting than 2013. Especially given that Marine Renewables Canada will host the 5th International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Halifax in November 2014.

Cheers to 2013—a year that has helped Canada join the leaders in the new world marine renewables industry.