Nova Scotia greenlights Big Moon’s 5MW tidal energy project

Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy has issued two permits to Big Moon Power (BMP) for a tidal electricity project in the Bay of Fundy, granting an off-grid testing of a 100kW prototype and phased installation of a 5MW tidal energy project.

BMP earlier iteration of tidal power system under trials in Minas Basin (Photo: BMP)

The Department of Energy received BMP’s application for a permit to construct the project on February 2, 2018.

The initial permit allows the developer to test its 100kW prototype that is not connected to the electricity grid for up to 14 months.

The second, five-year permit will allow the company to increase the size of its project in phases up to a maximum total of 5MW. This permit is renewable if the company meets performance standards, environmental requirements and community engagement conditions.

Before the construction of the 5MW project begins, Big Moon Power must comply with all other relevant permits and approvals, and carry out an environmental assessment.

The project has also received an authorisation of a power purchase agreement that allows the company to sell the electricity it generates to Nova Scotia Power for 35 cents per kilowatt hour.

If the project is successful, it will generate some of the lowest cost tidal electricity in the world, Nova Scotia’s Department of Energy stated.

“Nova Scotia is becoming well known for being at the forefront of tidal energy technology development,” said Nova Scotia’s Energy Minister Geoff MacLellan. “Demonstration projects like this will help drive innovation, competition and ultimately lower renewable energy prices.”

The project will feature BMP’s proprietary tidal energy system that has two main components which include a novel land-based generator assembly and an unmanned barge.

The generator assembly area is planned to be constructed on land along the north side of the Blomidon Peninsula which rises to an elevation of 130-150 meters above the low water mark. The barge is connected to the generator by a high strength rope in such a manner that is submerged below the drafts of local boat traffic. The barge operation area will extend 5 nautical miles in each direction originating from the generator assembly.

BMP is currently developing the 100kW prototype that it plans to test at the project site.

The 5MW project will begin with the installation of a 1MW system and, upon success of the first installation, the subsequent 4MW will be installed.