February 17, 2012 – 8:20pm BY BRETT BUNDALE BUSINESS REPORTER
A spokeswoman for parent company Emera said Friday the utility gave up its berth in the Minas Passage area west of Parrsboro.
“Nova Scotia Power has given up the berth as we figure out our next step,” Sasha Irving said in an interview, noting that the decision to release the berth holder agreement was reached at the end of last year.
“We’ve already gone in the water and come back out. We’re still looking at the data from that and figuring out what our next steps might be.”
The utility had one of four berths at a tidal turbine demonstration facility run by the not-for-profit corporation Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy.
“Because Nova Scotia Power got in the water first in the Bay and then recovered the turbine, we are at a different point in time with our research and development of than perhaps some others are,” Irving said.
She added that the utility remains committed to the research site, pointing to a 138 kilovolt overhead transmission line Nova Scotia Power is building to connect the facility’s substation to the existing Parrsboro substation.
But the decision raises questions about where the utility would test a bigger turbine Irish company OpenHydro has developed.
Nova Scotia Power’s first test turbine, a $10-million device from OpenHydro, was only in the water for a few weeks in 2009 because its blades snapped.
Chris Huskilson, chief executive officer of Emera, said last month the utility may have a tidal turbine back in the water this year but it’s more likely to be early 2013.
He said Nova Scotia Power is back at the drawing board exploring various technologies for the Bay of Fundy.
OpenHydro has developed a 16-metre turbine, which may be more suitable for the test site than the 10-metre device deployed two years ago, Huskilson said.
However, where the utility would test the bigger turbine is now up in the air.
Besides testing a larger turbine, Nova Scotia Power is also interested in trying out an open-prop design — similar to a windmill — as well as an enclosed fan, he said.
OpenHydro’s technology uses an enclosed fan.
“From both an Emera and Nova Scotia Power perspective we remain very committed to tidal,” Irving noted. “We’re just analyzing what our next steps may be…but we are absolutely committed to tidal in the province of Nova Scotia.”
French company Alstom and partner Clean Current of Vancouver plan to put their test turbine in the water by the middle of this year.
Minas Basin Pulp and Power of Hantsport and partner Marine Current Turbines of Bristol, England, plan to follow suit in 2013. United Kingdom-based Atlantis Resources and partners Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax are also slated to test a turbine that year.
- Nova Scotia Power lays off 40 workers (cbc.ca)
- ENERGY: Bay of Fundy Tidal Energy at Annapolis Royal (bayoffundy.ca)