Municipality of the District of Digby

Tidal

Tidal currents are a massive source of sustainable, renewable energy. Unlike wind and solar, the rise and fall of the ocean tide is reliable and predictable, and therefore electricity generated from tidal power can be more efficiently distributed and consumed. Locations fortunate enough to have a tidal resource have a unique opportunity to diversify and strengthen their energy portfolio if they can effectively harness the energy of the tidal currents. Digby County is one of those locations, ideally located on the Bay of Fundy.

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world (up to 16m), and holds the greatest potential for a tidal energy development in North America. Every day, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flows in and out of the bay, estimated by the Cape Sharp Tidal to contain 2,500 megawatts of extractable clean energy. While the potential is colossal, the technology needed to capture it is still relatively new. And because each tidal site around the world is unique, specialized research needs to be carried out for each new project.

Three potential sites have been identified in the Bay of Fundy at Grand Passage, Petit Passage, and Digby Gut, and Digby has been identified as the port of choice for tidal power development. Fundy Tidal and Clean Current Power Systems Inc. have an agreement to test and demonstrate a 3.5 meter diameter tidal turbine; the 65kW turbine will take kinetic energy from flowing tidal waters rather than water stored behind a dam to generate electricity. In-stream turbines like this pose less risk to the local ecosystem. The project is expected to last 12 months, with a target commissioning date in the spring of 2015 at which point Fundy Tidal has Department of Energy approval for a 1.95-megawatt tidal project in Digby Gut. Under the COMFIT program, Nova Scotia Power will buy energy produced from those turbines for the next 20 years at a price of 65.2 cents per kilowatt.

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Clean Current Tidal Turbine

Fundy Tidal is currently requesting public input on potential locations for turbines in Grand Passage. If you would like to help, an online questionnaire is available at fundytidal.com.