Atlantic Canada leads rising tide10/17/2012
Ocean energy is an emerging industry and Canada – particularly Atlantic Canada, according to the federal minister responsible for ACOA.
To show off the region’s abilities in the field, Bernard Valcourt, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is leading a delegation of 22 organizations and businesses to the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE) in Dublin, Ireland, this week.
The annual conference began a few years back, Valcourt said, and was initially more of a gathering of academics. Over time it has developed into a viable business event and trade show focused on the industrial development of renewable marine energy and attracts some 750 attendees.
“Some of the most exciting research and development is being done right now in Nova Scotia,” Valcourt said during a press conference phone call from Ireland Tuesday. “Atlantic Canada has abundant current and wave-energy resources.
The Bay of Fundy pushes over 150 billion tons of water every tide. That is more than all the fresh water rivers and streams in the world combined. The possibilities for developers and researchers are exciting, as is the potential for the development of renewable power for generations to come.”
Valcourt was joined on the call by three Canadian players: Anna Redden, executive director of Acadia University’s Tidal Institute and board member of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE); Russell Stothers, of Vancouver’s Clean Current Power Systems Inc.; and Greg Prowse, of Dalhousie University’s Fundy Tidal.
The minister called FORCE “a leading-edge research and demonstration facility dedicated to tidal-energy technology” and he noted that research into tidal energy is also being undertaken on the campuses of Acadia and Dalhousie universities.
“Atlantic Canada has a robust marine sector that will be able to extend services such as engineering technology applications, design and fabrication, and business services to the ocean-energy sector,” Valcourt said. “Further development of this sector will create a wide range of diverse jobs and business opportunities for Canada, and Atlantic Canada especially.”
Valcourt said he met with officials from Open Hydro, an Irish company that is a leading tidal-energy technology developer and a partner with Nova Scotia Power in a tidal energy demonstration project taking place in the Bay of Fundy. He said he planned to meet Pat Rabbitte, Ireland’s minister for communications, energy and natural resources Tuesday and to participate in an event organized by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Wednesday, he will deliver opening remarks to the 750 participants at the conference and said he planned to use the opportunity to talk about Canada’s, and Atlantic Canada’s, leadership in the ocean energy sector “as well as many advantages for a foreign company to invest in Atlantic Canada,” which he noted had the lowest tax rates of the G-8.”
For her part, Redden, said she expected to see a lot of interest from developers from around the world in a tender her organization was issuing.
“We have 50,000 megawatts of potential energy in the Bay of Fundy,” she said.
Stothers, of Clean Current Power Systems Inc., said his company has been developing tidal technology since 2001.
“We’re also developing units for river or stream, sites that (have) less than 20-metre depths.”
He said his goal at the conference was to focus on developing partnerships “to really move our company forward and become a significant player in the U.K. and Irish markets.”
Fundy Tidal’s Greg Prowse said he would present a research paper that discusses ways to get sustainable energy to rural maritime communities.
“Many maritime communities are located adjacent to abundant marine energy resources but are unable to transmit power due to aging electrical infrastructure designed to transmit power from large thermal power plants,” he said.
“The role of community energy developers such as Fundy Tidal extends beyond addressing the direct challenges to supporting communities, balancing regrowth and energy extraction for sustainable future.”