FORCE to intensify environmental monitoring efforts

Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) has released its second Environmental Effects Monitoring Report in an effort to enhance its environmental monitoring program.

The report contains summary information on data collected from 2011 to 2013.

It will be used to help design an enhanced program to monitor effects from tidal turbines deployed at the FORCE site in the Minas Passage, FORCE’s press release reads.

The studies covered in the report include monitoring and research activities on seabirds, marine mammals, lobster and fish movements, marine acoustic environment, benthic habitat and a review on electromagnetic fields.

Joe Fitzharris, Chair of the Board of Directors at FORCE, said: “We need to understand what effects tidal technology may have on the marine ecosystem. If tidal energy is to become part of our future energy supply, we need more research – and that will help the industry, government and public make informed decisions.”

The studies provide baseline information that will be used with current and future studies to address environmental effects of turbines installed at FORCE.

Anne-Marie Belliveau, Head of Environmental Programs at FORCE, said that since ‘in-stream’ turbines don’t require concrete walls or enclosures, they have the potential to leave smaller footprint than traditional dams, but there’s more work to be done to understand how marine life interacts with the turbines in high flow conditions.

Belliveau added: “We also need real-time experience with turbines in the water, coupled with environmental sensing equipment that can collect useful and reliable data on the marine environment. And then we’ve got to share that data with the public.”

FORCE is Canada’s lead centre for tidal energy technology research and demonstration, located in the Bay of Fundy.

FORCE collaborates with industry, government, and researchers to study the interaction between tidal turbines and the Bay of Fundy environment, providing research, environmental monitoring, and the electrical infrastructure for commercial development.

Image: FORCE/Illustration

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