Photo: PLAT-I tidal power system in Grand Passage (Courtesy of Sustainable Marine Energy)

Canada splashes $28.5 million on Sustainable Marine tidal array

The government of Canada has made one of its largest-ever investments in tidal energy by awarding multimillion-dollar funding to Sustainable Marine for the development of a floating tidal energy array in Nova Scotia.

A photo of PLAT-I tidal power system in Grand Passage (Courtesy of Sustainable Marine Energy)
PLAT-I tidal power system in Grand Passage (Courtesy of Sustainable Marine Energy)

The C$28.5 million (€18.4 million) will enable the UK-based Sustainable Marine Energy to deliver Canada’s first floating tidal energy array.

Sustainable Marine developed an innovative floating tidal energy platform called PLAT-I that has undergone rigorous testing on the waters of Grand Passage for nearly two years.

A second platform is currently being assembled in Meteghan in Nova Scotia, and will be launched in Grand Passage later this year for testing before relocation to the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in 2021. These platforms will make up the tidal energy array. 

The objective of the project is to provide up to 9 MW of predictable and clean renewable electricity to Nova Scotia’s electrical grid.

This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year while creating new jobs in the province, the Canadian government said.

The project will also demonstrate the ability to harness tides as a reliable source of renewable electricity to power homes, vehicles and businesses.

“We are harnessing the power of our tides to power our homes, our businesses and our communities. This is how we build our clean energy future”, said Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, who made the announcement at the Marine Renewables Canada 2020 Fall Forum.

Jason Hayman, CEO of Sustainable Marine, said: “Nova Scotia has one of the best natural resources in the world for tidal energy and provides the infrastructure and support for companies looking to grow their business. Having a demonstration site such as FORCE enables us to accelerate the commercialization of our technology.

“This investment will not only advance our tidal energy technology but also provide a source of clean renewable energy that has a positive impact on rural coastal communities and the environment.”

Welcoming the announcement, Elisa Obermann, Executive Director of Marine Renewables Canada, said: “Tidal energy is a prime example of a sector and clean technology that can spur economic development while helping Canada achieve its goals to reduce carbon emissions and act on climate change.

“Sustainable Marine has already successfully engaged local suppliers in its Grand Passage project, and this new project at FORCE creates more opportunities, particularly for firms with experience from other marine industries such as offshore oil and gas that are looking to diversify their business into renewable energy.”

Funding for the project comes from Natural Resources Canada’s Emerging Renewables Power Program, part of Canada’s more than $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes and Canada’s rural and northern communities.