Canada joins tidal big-league with OpenHydro turbine switch-on

Cape Sharp Tidal’s flagship 2MW turbine is now flowing power to the grid, following switch-on at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (Force) in the Bay of Fundy off Nova Scotia, Canada.

The DCNS-OpenHydro machine, a 16-metre-diameter rotor in an 'open-centred' l’Arcouest design,  will now undergo a programme of pre-commissioning test by the developer – a joint venture between provincial utility Emera and OpenHydro parent company DCNS – in the run-up to a second unit being installed next year.

"This is a huge achievement for Cape Sharp Tidal ... and also represents a significant milestone for the global tidal industry,” states DCNS senior vice president for energy and marine infrastructure Thierry Kalanquin.

“[On installation,] the turbine supported the most powerful tidal stream of the year without any stress to the system.

“When it is joined by a second device in 2017, Cape Sharp Tidal will be one of the largest generating, in-stream tidal energy arrays anywhere in the world.

“The project is providing us with unique insights into what is required to build commercial scale arrays. It will help us accelerate delivery of the pipeline of ocean energy projects we have secured across the globe and grow our position at the forefront of the tidal power industry."

Cape Sharp Tidal has committed to having 70% of project costs invested in Nova Scotia, with more than 300 local personnel employed in areas including fabrication, environmental monitoring, engineering, health and safety, and marine services.

Emera chief corporate development officer Nancy Tower says: "Emera’s investment in Cape Sharp Tidal is an investment in Nova Scotia’s renewable energy future. We’re already seeing growth and momentum in the local tidal industry. It’s a promising economic driver and an important local source of clean energy with benefits for the whole Bay of Fundy region."

The installation of the Force turbine follows DCNS’s deployment of two same-size units in May off the west coast of France, as part of developer EDF's landmark 4MW Paimpol-Bréhat array.

DCNS earlier this year also inked a deal with the Japanese government for a 2MW pilot in the Naru Strait off Nagasaki,  via a consortium that includes Kyuden Mirai Energy, Nippon Steel & Sumikin Engineering and the NPO Nagasaki Marine Industry Cluster.

OPINION: 'This could be take-off year for the ocean energy industry'

Read more

The completed demonstration project at Force will save burning 2,000 tonnes of coal, and eliminate 6,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

OpenHydro’s original 1MW model, installed in the Bay of Fundy in 2010, had to be hoisted out after nine months in the water after underwater footage showed two of its rotor blades had snapped off.

The latest installation adds to the industrial momentum of the tidal power industry, after the flagship turbine at the 400MW MeyGen project, off Scotland, was deployed earlier this month.

Read Next

OpenHydro ring-shaped turbine: the new prince of tides

In a particularly ferocious stretch of Canada’s Bay of Fundy, 30 metres underwater, OpenHydro’s distinctive, ring-shaped, one-megawatt (MW) turbine made history as the first commercial-size tidal device to produce electricity when it was switched on late last year.

04 Mar 2010