Country Reports

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.


Canada’s Marine Renewable Energy Technology Roadmap establishes targets whereby the Canadian sector contributes to projects totalling 75 MW by 2016, 250 MW by 2020 and 2 GW by 2030 for installed in-stream tidal, river-current and wave energy generation. 

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.

At the federal level, the Department of Natural Resources Canada, under the Marine Renewable Energy Enabling Measures programme, continues to take a lead role towards the development of a policy framework for administering marine renewable energy activities in the federal offshore. This policy framework will provide direction to the federal Government on the potential development of a comprehensive legislative framework for administering marine renewable energy projects in the federal offshore.

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.

From 2011 to 2015, the province of Nova Scotia had two opportunities for in-stream tidal energy developers to receive Feed-in Tariffs (FITs)—one for community-owned, smaller scale developments under the Community Feedin Tariff (COMFIT) programme (at a rate of 65.2 cents/kilowatt hour) and another for larger scale developmental projects (ranging from 37.5 cents/kilowatt hour to 57.5 cents/kilowatt hour). The Province’s Electricity Plan, released in November 2015, replaces guaranteed FITs with a fair, competitive process for renewable energy technologies; however, existing FIT approvals will be able to proceed.

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:

  • Minas Energy (4 MW)
  • Black Rock Tidal Power (5 MW)
  • Atlantis Operations Canada, in partnership with DP Energy (4.5 MW)
  • Cape Sharp Tidal Venture, a joint venture between Emera and OpenHydro/DCNS (4 MW)

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.


To date, Canada’s main public funding programmes supporting national research, development, and demonstrations (RD&D) are from federal programmes administered through the Office of Energy Research and Development at Natural Resources Canada. Canada has committed approximately $37 million to marine renewable energy RD&D since 2010. In addition, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), an arm’s length foundation created by the Government of Canada, has committed approximately $13 million to develop and demonstrate projects that include in-stream tidal, river-current and wave energy technologies.

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.

The Oceans Act, Canada’s Oceans Strategy, and the Policy and Operational Framework for Integrated Management of Estuarine, Coastal and Marine Environments in Canada provide the policy framework and guide Canada’s approach to oceans management. The approach is centred on the principle of Integrated Management (IM), which seeks to establish decision-making structures that consider both the conservation and protection of ecosystems, while at the same time providing opportunities for creating wealth in oceans related economies and communities.

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.

A key piece to Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Act is the creation of a licensing and permitting system that will oversee the development of marine renewable energy projects. Any generator proceeding in a priority area without an approval will be in violation of the Act. A license will allow a project developer to carry out the business of extracting energy within a ‘marine renewable-electricity area’ (i.e., an area designated for development) through single or multiple devices. A permit will be issued to a temporary deployment of a device for the purposes of testing and demonstration.

This system will ensure that projects proceed only after undergoing a thorough review by the Government and subject to effective Government oversight and monitoring.


FORCE reached a major milestone in 2014: the installation of the underwater power cables. The four cables laid along the sea floor of the Minas Passage give FORCE the largest transmission capacity for tidal power in the world. With a combined length of 11 kilometres, the four cables have a total capacity of 64 MW at peak tidal flows, equivalent to the power needs of 20,000 homes. Each 34.5 kilovolt cable, together with its reel, weighed over 100 tonnes.

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.

Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platform


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:

A part of FORCE’s core mandate is designing a new environmental effects and monitoring programme to track effects of turbines on the environment.

The Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Test Centre (CHTTC) in Manitoba is operating using its dedicated infrastructure in the Winnipeg River to test river current technologies. In 2015, CHTTC deployed and tested 4 turbines, supplied by 3 technology developers. CHTTC applied the IEC TC114 standard 62600-200 for the performance evaluation of tidal turbines for two of the turbines. During this test, the incoming flow to the turbines was measured using Acoustic Doppler Velocimetres (ADVs) and Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs) and the load on the mooring line was measured simultaneously.

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.

The College of the North Atlantic (CNA) operates the Wave Energy Research Centre (WERC) in Lord’s Cove on the south coast of the Island of Newfoundland. The Centre was established to conduct research in the development of a wave powered water pump coupled to a novel shore-based aquaculture system. In conducting this work, a former fish processing facility has been renovated and provides space for the farm, the computer control and data collection equipment, a laboratory, and workshops. CNA has also installed and commissioned instrumentation to characterize the weather and wave conditions at the site, and completed bathymetric mapping of the area. Currently, there are six fully permitted mooring sites (at depths of 6 to 30m) available within 1.5 km from shore. The site has collected weather and wave environment data, over three years. With a dedicated wharf and slipway, the site is ideal for the testing and demonstration of wave energy converters (WEC) and other surface and sub-surface structures in an energetic nearshore environment, as well as the development of associated instrumentation and sensor systems. To date, 3 WEC developers, 2 instrument manufacturers and a coatings company have expressed interest in evaluating their technology at WERC.

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:

  1. Developing the Nova Scotia Tidal Energy Atlas, an interactive web-based mapping application that makes tidal energy related spatial information readily accessible to the public, and is planned for public release in February 2016;
  2. Leading the analysis of the three Digby passages, measuring and modelling the turbulence in the tidal flows;
  3. Assessing different stakeholders’ community engagement strategies in Nova Scotia and to what extent these strategies support social acceptance of tidal energy development;
  4. Conducting work to advance acoustic environmental sensors and software for the detection of fish and marine mammals at and near tidal energy turbines;
  5. Gathering the insights of executives and senior managers in the tidal energy industry both locally and internationally to understand the strategic decisionmaking regarding the timing of commercial scale tidal energy investment, and
  6. Developing a Tidal Energy School Outreach Programme that brought tidal energy hands-on activities and information into Nova Scotian classrooms for over 300 students in 2015.

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.



New Energy Corp. installed their 5 kW EnviroGen vertical axis turbine in Ringmo, Dolpa, Nepal, in the spring of 2014. The site is very remote – it is a 3-day walk to the nearest road, and all components needed to be carried in by hand. The system operated for four solid months at capacity in 2014. Ringmo closes down each fall, but it re-opened again in the spring of 2015, at which time the unit was put back into operation.

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.

Mavi Innovations first tested their Mi1-20 kW floating ducted crossflow turbine at the CHTTC in November 2014 over the course of two weeks in severe winter conditions. The team learned first-hand about the challenges of designing and operating turbines in a Canadian winter environment (-30 ºC air temperatures).

The Mi1 was redeployed at the CHTTC in July 2015 and underwent a series of performance tests over the course of 4 months. In addition to commissioning the unit, Mavi worked with CHTTC staff and Dynamic Systems Analysis to measure mooring loads and turbine performance in order to validate IEC-TC114 standards currently under development. 


Floating ducted crossflow turbine (Mavi Innovations)


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.

Mermaid Power, a wave energy point absorber, has completed tank tests to prove the viability of their Power Take- Off (PTO) mechanism, as well as their tidal compensator system. In December 2015, they deployed their Neptune 3 device first to the maritime museum in Vancouver harbour and secondly to a nearshore testing location off Keats Island in British Columbia. The Neptune 3 device is 16,000 kg with a 3,500 kg motive float. The device will undergo grid power connectivity testing under the BC Hydro net-metering programme, where it will run a series of tests to determine the actual empirical wave energy force acting to move the motive float vertically in various sized waves, and show real time video surveillance of underwater activities, PTO action, electric meter action, and overall situational activities.

Neptune 3 device (Mermaid)


Accumulated Ocean Energy Inc., a wave energy point absorber buoy, tested their 1/12 scale system in the Sooke Basin, on the south end of Vancouver Island in southwestern British Columbia, in 2015. 78033-accumulated.jpg
Accumulated Ocean Energy 1-12 scale device testing in Sooke Basin
- Vancouver Island

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.

1/16 scale SeaWEED device (Grey Island Energy)


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.


The province of Nova Scotia anticipates deployment of 22 MW of large scale in-stream tidal energy to be deployed in the Bay of Fundy over the coming 3-5 years. The first project scheduled for deployment is Cape Sharp Tidal Venture, which is expected to deploy its first turbines in the spring of 2016.

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.


To further activity under the Canada-United Kingdom Joint Declaration, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nova Scotia, the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA), and the United Kingdom’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB, now InnovateUK) was signed in March 2014 to encourage joint research to develop new and innovative technology for high-flow tidal environments. As a result of this MoU, a joint research fund was launched and 2 projects were announced in 2015:

  • Emera, OpenHydro, Ocean Sonics, Acadia University, Seam Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) Canada, and from the UK, Tritech, and SMRU: the Project will deliver an innovative system using both passive and active acoustic sensor technologies to improve ‘real-time’ tracking of fish and mammals at tidal sites in the Bay of Fundy.
  • Rockland Scientific, Dalhousie University, Black Rock Tidal, and from the UK, FloWave TT, European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), and Ocean Array Systems: Development of a new sensor system to measure the impact of turbulence on tidal devices. The project results will be used to improve turbine designs and operation performance, as well as assessment of installation sites. This is a EUREKA-designated project.

Canada has been actively engaged in the standards development process for marine renewable energy since the inception of IEC TC114 in 2007. The Canadian committee consists of a volunteer group of 32 technical experts from industry, academia and federal and provincial governments. Canadian experts are working on all active project teams within TC114, including the 6 published standards, as well as the 9 other standards currently in the drafting stage ( Canada continues to engage in research specifically targeted towards addressing the knowledge gaps encountered during standards development. The areas of research included are: environmental noise measurement; river converter power extraction and resource assessment; ice and debris impact for river and tidal site; reliability and load factor guidelines and long term wave energy converter performance.


Nova Scotia and British Columbia renewed their partnership to advance Canada’s marine renewable energy sector through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2015. The Memorandum of Understanding outlines key priorities, including partnering on research and technology development, and sharing information and best practices in regulation and permitting. The Memorandum represents a commitment from both provinces to further develop the tidal resource in the Bay of Fundy and wave-generated energy on British Columbia’s west coast.

In April 2015, Nova Scotia’s Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) released the Value Proposition for Tidal Energy Development in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and Canada, to determine the potential of building a tidal industry in Canada. The study examines the economic potential that could be realized over a 25-year period to 2040. It found that the new industry could contribute up to $1.7 billion to Nova Scotia’s gross domestic product (GDP), create up to 22,000 full time positions and generate as much as $815 million in labour income. This opportunity is significant as there will be spill over effects in the Atlantic region and elsewhere in Canada.

The Marine Renewables Canada Annual Conference will be held in the fall of 2016.


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.

The Oceans Act, Canada’s Oceans Strategy, and the Policy and Operational Framework for Integrated Management of Estuarine, Coastal and Marine Environments in Canada provide the policy framework and guide Canada’s approach to oceans management. Integrated Management 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.

The authorities involved in the consenting process are:

• Federal authorities: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Employment and Social Development Canada, Public Works and Government Services, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

• Province of Nova Scotia: Department of Energy, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Department of Environment, Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Office of Aboriginal Affairs.

• Members of Nova Scotia’s Federal/Provincial One Window Committee on Tidal Energy:

- Federal: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Transport Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Environment Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada;

- Provincial: Energy, Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Labour and Advanced Education, Environment, Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

Within the province of Nova Scotia, the Department of Energy is responsible for managing the consenting process through a “one window committee” process, consisting of federal and provincial government departments/agencies with an interest in the marine environment and ocean energy.

At the federal level, authorizations required prior to the approval of marine renewable energy projects include land use, project activities, transmission, occupational health and safety, operational safety, environmental protection and navigation.

At the provincial level, in Nova Scotia projects are not able to proceed in an area that has not undergone a SEA.

At FORCE testing site, projects must be approved by the Minister of Energy and are selected through a competitive Request for Proposal process.

A key piece to Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Act is the creation of a licensing and permitting system that will oversee the development of marine renewable energy projects. Any generator proceeding in a priority area without an approval will be in violation of the Act. A license will allow a project developer to carry out the business of extracting energy within a ‘marine renewable-electricity area’ (i.e., an area designated for development) through single or multiple devices. A permit will be issued to a temporary deployment of a device for the purposes of testing and demonstration. This system will ensure that projects proceed only after undergoing a thorough review by the Government and subject to effective Government oversight and monitoring.

The Canadian version of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), is typically required for projects.

A federal Environmental Assessment is required for tidal current projects 50 MW or greater. Tidal current projects less than 50 MW do not require a federal Environmental Assessment. If the tidal current project is located on federal lands (i.e. the federal seabed), then a federal Environmental Analysis is required. Tidal current projects less than 50 MW and located on provincial lands (i.e. the provincial seabed), are only subject to a provincial Environmental Assessment. In Nova Scotia, a provincial Environmental Assessment is required for tidal current projects greater than 2 MW. Projects can be subject to Environmental Assessments below these thresholds at either the federal or provincial level, subject to Ministerial discretion.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is the federal authority responsible for a federal Environmental Assessment.

Environmental Assessments usually require ongoing environmental effects monitoring throughout the lifecycle of a project.

There is no legislation or regulations designed solely for the licensing of renewable energy activity in the offshore.
Nova Scotia’s Electricity Act and Renewable Electricity Regulations outline two paths for the development of tidal energy projects: at a community level and large-scale R&D level. The Regulations outline a comprehensive application process that projects must undergo in order to receive one of two feed-in tariff rates.

In 2011, Canada’s Federal Government established the Marine Renewable Energy Enabling Measures program to develop and present to Cabinet, by March 2016, a federal policy framework for administering marine renewable energy 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.

Consultations can occur as part of the SEA process.

Nova Scotia also undergoes engagement with stakeholders, ratepayers, and taxpayers primarily at the SEA stage, but also throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Statutory consultation required:

At the federal level, the Government of Canada has a legal duty to consult Aboriginal people when there are potential or established Aboriginal or treaty rights that may be adversely impacted by a contemplated Crown conduct, such as a marine renewable project approval.

Like the Government of Canada, the Government of Nova Scotia has a duty to consult with the First Nations of Nova Scotia, the Mi’kmaq.

Informal consultation activities:

There are two cooperative mechanisms for Canada and Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq consultation—the Canada-Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Consultation Cooperation and the tri-partite Mi’kmaq/Nova Scotia/Canada Consultation Terms of Reference (TOR).

The Nova Scotia Department of Energy leads an Energy Consultation Table with the participation of federal authorities and the Mi'kmaq where provincial energy issues are discussed.

The One Window Committee, along with the Province of Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy Strategy provide guidance to developers on potential permits/approvals, and review processes.

The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) has an approved Environmental Assessment for its full site, inclusive of its four deployment berths. As such, developers at the site do not have to undergo individual EAs. Developers are still required to provide applications to other relevant regulatory agencies.