The Canadian marine renewable energy sector progressed steadily in 2015. The province of Nova Scotia passed sector-specific legislation, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) announced the development of a 5th berth at the in-stream tidal demonstration site, new monitoring instruments for accurate tidal current and turbulence measurements were developed, and international collaborative R&D projects between Canada and the United Kingdom were announced.
NATIONAL STRATEGY AND TARGETS
Many tidal activities are taking place on the Atlantic coast, particularly in the province of Nova Scotia in the Bay of Fundy. Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Strategy outlines the province’s plan to promote innovation and research, establish a regulatory system and encourage the development of market-competitive technologies and an industrial sector. Released in 2012, the Strategy sets goals to develop marine renewable energy legislation, implement a research and development plan and has a target of licensing 300 MW of commercially-competitive in-stream tidal electricity generation. This past year saw the delivery of the legislation and progress on research and development activities.
The Government of Nova Scotia passed the Marine Renewable Energy Act in 2015, which applies to Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy and the Bras d’Or lakes. This legislation ensures that marine renewable energy projects, including in-stream tidal, tidal range, offshore wind, wave and ocean currents, are developed in a manner that respects the environment and the interests of local communities; ensures increased consultation and provides for the safe, responsible and strategic development of the industry; and establishes a licensing and permitting system for the placement of marine renewable energy generators in those areas.
The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) is Canada’s research centre for in-stream tidal energy, located in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. FORCE provides four berths (project sites) to host technology developers, with electrical infrastructure to deliver power to the grid. In December 2014, four developers with projects at FORCE received FIT approvals, totalling 17.5 MW to be developed at the FORCE site:
Each of the developers at FORCE has received approval for the FIT, which allows them to enter into a 15-year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power, the provincial electric utility. Cape Sharp Tidal Venture is expected to deploy their first turbines in the Bay of Fundy in early 2016.
In December 2015, Nova Scotia announced an agreement with Irish-based DP Energy to install a 4.5-MW instream tidal energy project at a 5th berth at the FORCE test site. DP Energy has plans to install three 1.5 MW Andritz Hydro turbines. In addition, Fundy Tidal Inc. has received three approvals under the Nova Scotia COMFIT programme, which allows local community groups to connect small scale in-stream tidal devices under 500 kW to the electrical grid at the distribution level for over a 20-year contract.
The Government of Nova Scotia has committed to limiting the impact on ratepayers, due to the FIT, to two per cent.
PUBLIC FUNDING PROGRAMMES
The National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Programme has supported many early technology assessment and physical and numerical modelling trials. Most projects have benefitted from the refundable tax credit for Scientific Research and Experimental Development.
At a provincial level, Nova Scotia has directly invested in the FORCE development initiative through a contribution of $11 million. In addition, the Nova Scotia Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) has supported a number of strategic research projects in marine energy, which are estimated be a value of approximately $3.5 million. In addition, provincial economic development agencies and funds, in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, have provided at least $10 million to support projects.
IM efforts in Canada are being undertaken through an area-based approach that supports marine planning, management and decision-making at appropriate spatial scales, from regional to site-specific. In Canada, IM is implemented through a regional approach. Therefore, it is important to determine the key social, technical, legislative/policy and political challenges to advancing spatial and temporal planning at a regional level.
Network development is underway in all three of Canada’s oceans, and is an example of conservation work undertaken as part of Canada’s approach to oceans management. A network is a collection of individual marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures, in different geographic locations, designed to work together in order to fulfill ecological objectives more effectively and comprehensively than a group of individual sites could do alone. The National Framework for Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas provides overarching direction for this work, and points to the importance of using existing IM decision-making structures.
This system will ensure that projects proceed only after undergoing a thorough review by the Government and subject to effective Government oversight and monitoring.
In 2015, following the announcement that all four FORCE developers received approval through Nova Scotia’s FIT programme, FORCE began feasibility and impact studies, approvals, permitting, and electrical design work to expand their onshore electrical infrastructure to accommodate up to 20 MW; to allow small turbine arrays to connect to the electricity grid.
Cape Sharp Tidal Venture (CSTV), a berth-holder at FORCE, had two successful operations in 2015: the installation of a subsea cable at the FORCE test site, and the launch of the Scotia Tide deployment barge. The cable is an interconnection hub that will connect CSTV turbines to the existing 16MW subsea FORCE export cable. Not only was the operation safely executed, but it is the first project component to be deployed, and the only system of its kind in the world. CSTV also deployed 300 metres of cable to its berth site at FORCE.
CSTV’s barge, christened The Scotia Tide, took her maiden test voyage around the Pictou Harbour in December 2015. The unique, catamaran-style vessel is the largest heavy lift capacity barge in Atlantic Canada. The 64 metres long, 37 metres wide, 650-tonne barge has a 1,150-tonne carrying capacity. Purpose-built for deployment and recovery operations, it is equipped with three heavy-lift winches that give it a unique capacity to lower and raise turbines from the sea floor.
To support the deployment of the turbines, FORCE has completed construction of two underwater platforms to host a suite of resource and environmental monitoring instruments, called the Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platforms. Both platforms are now in sea trials.
As part of FAST, FORCE has completed phase one of the Vectron project, with partners Nortek Scientific and Dalhousie University, which will offer high resolution current velocity and turbulence data at turbine hub height.
FORCE has also conducted a survey of the FAST data cable, establishing useful methods and equipment for monitoring and maintaining subsea assets. FORCE has also integrated shore-based monitoring systems, including X-band radar, a meteorological tower and a tide gauge, providing a multi-dimensional understanding of the operating environment, in real-time.
FORCE is collaborating with Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) to support the FAST programme by enhancing the accessibility of its data to the public, scientists and developers around the world. Much of the data collected is accessible online, including a time-lapse video from the previous day: http://fundyforce.ca/visit/live-video/.
A part of FORCE’s core mandate is designing a new environmental effects and monitoring programme to track effects of turbines on the environment.
In 2014, at CHTTC, more than 80 fish were tagged and released into the Winnipeg River. In 2015, data collected from receivers along the river and near turbines were used to analyse the effect of river current turbines on the activities of the fish. Preliminary data analysis indicates no significant effect on the fish behaviour due to turbine operation. In addition, a 48-hour underwater camera observed the interactions between a 5 kW river current turbine and passing fish; it was found that none of the fish in the vicinity of the project interacted with the turbine.
Other projects conducted by CHTTC in 2015 included: improving satellite imaging for river kinetic site selection; site assessment near Sagkeeng First Nation resort for river kinetic turbine deployment; creating a comprehensive map of off-grid communities with access to hydrokinetic resources; testing, calibrating and improving marine measurement equipment; and the design and development of innovative tools for flow measurement and other marine applications.
For 2016, CHTTC intends to test turbines according to international standards and through third party relevant certifications.
Scale model testing of the CNA wave energy converter water pump is completed and the deployment of a full scale prototype at sea in Lord’s Cove is expected in 2016. This approximately 10 tonne wave energy converter is designed as a robust, low technology point absorber conceived to deliver a high volume of water to shore. Once there, the water can be used in industrial, aquacultural and electrical generation applications, without exposing more complex technology to extreme ocean conditions.
Several universities across Canada are involved in the marine renewable energy sector. Acadia Tidal Energy Institute (ATEI) out of Acadia University focuses on projects that seek to ensure that tidal energy development is sustainable through risk reduction and informed decision-making. Over the past year this work involved:
Wave energy research in Canada continues to be driven by the West Coast Wave Initiative (WCWI) out of University of Victoria’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic). The WCWI completes highresolution wave resource assessments, detailed wave energy converter (WEC) technology simulations and both short-term and long-term electrical system integration studies. The WCWI has developed and validated a high resolution wave model of the British Columbia coast that is utilized as both an 11-year hindcast and a 48-hour forecast. The WCWI works to evaluate wave energy converter designs and control system configurations with a number of national and international technology developers, including Resolute Marine Energy, Carnegie Wave Energy, Ocean Energy Ltd, Seawood Designs and Accumulated Ocean Energy. Hourly power production estimates for future wave energy converter farms off the British Columbia coast, created by combining the detailed wave resource and device performance characteristics, are then simulated into the BC Hydro electrical grid. This allows for the identification of WEC farm locations which maximise utilization of the produced power and require the lowest capital investment on behalf of local utilities.
Additionally, WCWI researchers, in collaboration with Sandia National Labs, are developing a novel wave propagation code allowing for the implementation of WEC farms within SWAN; this will allow for higher resolution predictions of WEC farm power output and far field disturbance effects.
In the fall of 2015, New Energy Corp. installed two of their 5 kW EnviroGen turbines in Myanmar in order to provide year- round power for a school. The two floating demonstration systems were installed in a river adjacent to the school. The turbines have been operating since.
New Energy Corp. installed their 5 kW EnCurrent vertical axis turbine at the CHTTC in September 2014 primarily to test a patented fully-submersible bearing. The test was a resounding success, and this bearing design has already been incorporated into the commercial product design. Testing continued in 2015 on various aspects of the mechanical design as well as control system enhancements for both standalone and grid connected applications.
New Energy Corp. began the civil works construction on their Canoe Pass, British Columbia project, in June 2014. Canoe Pass is a 500 kW tidal demonstration project on Vancouver Island. All permitting and regulatory approvals are in place for the project. Part of the causeway between two islands will be removed to install two 250 kW turbines. The turbine installation is scheduled for late 2016.
Instream Energy Systems has received approval by the US Bureau of Reclamation to extend its lease at the Roza Canal site in Washington State. Instream has used this site since 2013 as an infield pilot site to test system updates and upgrades. Instream plans on adding more turbines as well as connecting to the grid. In addition, Instream has received the European Union Eureka Label and Canadian Government funding from the National Research Council for its Marine Floating Platform Design Project in collaboration with UK-based IT Power. Instream continues to work with BAE systems and is presently developing its next generation turbine.
Instream Energy Systems
Idénergie installed a river turbine in Quebec during 2015 to power a welcome centre for a fish and hunting ground. The turbine was used in high-velocity flows of over 3.5 m/s with success. A demonstration was also performed in a river at Jasper National Park, in the province of Alberta, in collaboration with Parks Canada. Towards the end of the year, a turbine was installed to power an off-grid residence during the winter. Recent upgrades to the river turbine bring its nameplate capacity to 1 kW and permit the inter-connection of multiple turbines together.
Grey Island Energy, with their “SeaWEED” wave energy surface attenuator, conducted testing at the Canadian National Research Council’s Ocean Engineering Basin. The 1/16 scale SeaWEED prototype was able to efficiently capture and convert wave energy, and the physical model matched the numerical model, which informed how much power the device could produce at a full scale. The results exceeded expectations.
The 20 MW Annapolis Royal tidal barrage power plant was commissioned in 1984 and continues to operate today. It is owned and operated by Nova Scotia Power (a subsidiary of the utility company EMERA). Annapolis Royal is the only commercial tidal power plant in North America.
Working with a consortium of industry and academic partners, Fundy Tidal has continued to advance their COMFIT small scale tidal energy projects in Grand Passage, Petit Passage, and Digby Gut, Nova Scotia. Fundy Tidal is progressing through the Nova Scotia Power interconnection process for their Digby Gut project and is working towards a financial close for all projects.
New Energy Corp. has received preliminary approval to supply a 25 kW EnviroGen Power Generation System to a First Nation community in Manitoba. Approvals are in place, and fabrication is scheduled to begin in early 2016. Installation of the system is scheduled for the summer of 2016.
In 2016, Mavi plans to integrate the Mi1 turbine along with battery storage and possibly solar into an existing diesel grid to power a remote lodge in British Columbia. The objective of this project is to assess the feasibility of using tidal power to offset the use of diesel fuel by offgrid coastal communities.
Water Wall Turbine plans on testing their 500 kW, full size, in-stream tidal demonstration turbine in the Fraser River, Vancouver, in January 2016, before they deploy the device at the Dent Island test site. The Dent Island project comprises a microgrid, and the testing of the microgrid components will take place in March 2016. The design and construction of the microgrid components is underway.
Instream Energy Systems has secured a location in the northwest USA for a marine trial in early 2017. The trial will integrate a number of turbines on a single floating platform with an output of approximately 100 kW. In addition, Instream has been selected by the University of New Hampshire to provide a single 25 kW turbine for “the Living Bridge Project”. This project will harness energy from the tides flowing under the bridge and is scheduled for delivery in late 2016.
Idénergie will install 6 river turbines and 72 solar panels to power an outfitter establishment in north eastern Canada, in 2016. An additional deployment of 10 turbines is planned for the summer at Banff and Jasper National Parks in the Canadian Rockies, in the province of Alberta. The turbines will allow Parks Canada to power various off-grid campgrounds and facilities.
Mermaid Power’s Neptune 4, a wave energy point absorber, is expected to be deployed on the west coast of Vancouver Island in late 2016 to test gale force storm survivability of their point absorber system – they are looking for a deployment site in the Sooke-Shirley-Jordan River-Port Renfrew area.
In 2014, Jupiter Hydro successfully demonstrated both their 36” diameter Delta unit, and their 42” diameter 3EC42 unit, helical screws turbines, at the CHTTC. Jupiter’s two prototypes have cleared the path to commercialization. Jupiter Hydro is currently planning on deploying their 1 MW unit at EMEC in late 2016.
In the 2nd quarter of 2016, Accumulated Ocean Energy Inc., a wave energy point absorber buoy, will establish an office in Cork, Ireland. A 1/4 scaled system will follow at the Galway Bay Smart Bay Wave Test Site. In 2015, Accumulated Ocean Energy Inc., partnered with T’Sou-ke Economic Development Limited to establish the T’Sou-ke Ocean Energy Limited Partnership (TOE LP), which is aimed at pursuing business opportunities located in the traditional territory of T’Sou-ke Nation. The first of the projects proposed by the newly formed TOE LP will be the installation of a test system off the shores of the T’Sou-ke traditional territory.
In 2016, Grey Island Energy is planning to deploy a 1/4 scale prototype of their surface attenuator, the SeaWEED device, in Scotland, in conjunction with their Scottish office and other potential UK partners.
Marine Spatial Planning Policy
At the federal level, there is no existing marine spatial planning policy for ocean energy. Spatial planning for ocean energy takes place only in the province of Nova Scotia.
Pre-selected areas for tidal current energy development have been selected in the province of Nova Scotia, in the Bay of Fundy.
Site selection was determined, in-part, by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on tidal energy development in the Bay of Fundy (FORCE). Resource assessments were also considered as part of the site selection. Another area in Nova Scotia that recently underwent a SEA is Cape Breton Island, inclusive of the Bras d’Or Lakes.