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'Pioneers' hope to harness the energy of Bay of Fundy

After a year of scouring the Bay of Fundy and more than $1 million,scientists have found the perfect site for Nova Scotia’s tidal energyproject.

After a year of scouring the Bay of Fundy and more than $1 million, scientists have found the perfect site for Nova Scotia’s tidal energy project.

Three test turbines will be placed near Black Rock, about three kilometers west of Parrsboro. The test project is due to start in 2010 and will generate enough power for 3,000 homes.

“The amount of water that moves into the Bay of Fundy in one direction exceeds all the flow of water of all the streams and rivers in the world,” said Scott Travers, President of Minas Basin Pulp and Power.

“This is our chance to prove we can harness this energy in what is considered to be the most prized tidal resource in the world.”

Black Rock was picked because it’s deep, sediment-free and free of turbulence.

Travers’ company is working with U.K.-based Marine Current Turbines on one of the three turbines. Marine Current recently installed the world’s most powerful in-stream tidal turbine in Northern Ireland.

Tidal power is currently much more expensive than wind, another source of green energy. But one major advantage of tidal is that the steady tides offer a much more dependable energy source.

The turbines are set to be up and running by 2010, but they are only a test project set to last about two years. Their five-megawatt output makes up less than two per cent of Nova Scotia’s electricity needs.

But Travers said if the tests go well, permanent turbines will be put in place that will last between 50 and 100 years.

“We’re pioneers here. We’re going to learn an awful lot about what kind of problems we encounter. It’ll help us from there in a controlled, methodical way, working with the province, with what other areas in the Bay of Fundy we can go to,” said Travers.

 
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