N.S. company wins tidal energy berth, must retrieve stranded Cape Sharp turbine

A Nova Scotia tidal energy company has won the competition to fill the vacant berth at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy site in Parrsboro, N.S.

As part of the agreement, Big Moon Power must remove the failed Cape Sharp tidal turbine that is still sitting on the ocean floor in the Bay of Fundy.

“Big Moon is extremely pleased to have won this procurement from the province of Nova Scotia and to continue our efforts to advance the tidal industry in Canada,” stated Big Moon chair Lynn Blodgett in a news release.

Big Moon Power has provided a security deposit of $4.5 million related to its commitment to retrieve the tidal turbine. The 1,300-tonne turbine has been stranded on the bottom of the Minas Passage since 2018 when a parent company of Cape Sharp Tidal Venture, OpenHydro Group Ltd., filed for liquidation.

“Obviously, we were looking for parties that were well qualified and have adequate technical capabilities,” said John Dalton, the president of Power Advisory LLC, the company that oversaw the call for proposals. “[Big Moon] satisfied all those requirements as well as provided the desired financial security.”

A Cape Sharp tidal turbine has been stuck at the bottom of the Minas Passage since 2018. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Big Moon Power is no stranger to tidal power research in the Bay of Fundy. It has experimented with prototypes in Scots Bay. Big Moon’s technology, called a Kinetic Keel, allows it to harness tidal power without installing anything on the ocean floor.

With authority from Energy Minister Derek Mombourquette, Big Moon Power has been granted a marine renewable-electricity licence, which includes the design, construction and operation of eight 500 kilowatt in-stream tidal energy generators. No generation is allowed until an environmental monitoring plan is submitted.

The removal of the Cape Sharp turbine may not happen anytime soon. Big Moon Power must submit and have a retrieval plan approved by the province and has a deadline of Dec. 31, 2024, to raise the turbine.

In an interview with CBC News last year, Mombourquette said he hoped the turbine would be out of the water by October 2020.

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