Bids for berth in Bay of Fundy tidal project extended until fall3/7/2013
Tidal developers are getting another six months to apply to be part of a Bay of Fundy demonstration project.
The province announced Wednesday that it was extending the deadline for bids until Sept. 30 to fill the fourth berth at a Parrsboro-area test site. The previous deadline was the end of this month.
An Energy Department official said developers have expressed an interest in the initial tender call, but the province wants to wait until the regulator has set a feed-in tariff for tidal projects.
“It is in the best interest of the project for developers to know the feed-in tariff rate so they can develop the strongest business case for their proposals,” Bruce Cameron, executive director of sustainable and renewable energy, said in an email.
The tariff is the price developers will be paid for the electricity generated by their in-stream devices while the technology is in its early stages.
The provincial Utility and Review Board had planned to hold a hearing on the tidal tariff this month. But the matter was postponed in January after a consultant said it needed to more time to develop a proposed rate structure.
Cameron said the board is expected to issue a revised hearing schedule soon.
If the tariff isn’t set by Aug. 31, the department could extend the bid deadline again, he said.
Three projects already have berths at the Minas Passage site overseen by a non-profit group, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy.
The fourth spot, previously held by Nova Scotia Power, was vacated in 2011.
The utility deployed a $10-million device in 2009 in partnership with Irish company OpenHydro. The machine was quickly damaged by hurricane-force currents and removed from the FORCE site in December 2010.
That prompted other developers to rethink their plans, which has resulted in delays testing the next prototype.
The province has said it expects the next turbine to be deployed in 2014 or 2015.
United Kingdom energy developer Atlantis Resources Corp. has said it plans to put a machine into the water in 2015. It is partnered with Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax.
French company Alstom has said it will be at least that same year before it has a device ready for an area with the world’s highest tides.
A project has also been proposed by Minas Basin Pulp and Power of Hantsport and U.K. partner Marine Current Turbines.
(The Chronicle Herald)