Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dutch Firm to Test Floating Turbine in Tidal-Power 'Holy Grail' of Bay of Fundy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Dutch Firm to Test Floating Turbine in Tidal-Power 'Holy Grail' of Bay of Fundy

Article excerpt

Dutch firm to try floating turbine in Fundy


HALIFAX - A Dutch firm that calls the Bay of Fundy "the holy grail" aims to exploit the bay's powerful tidal currents by testing a floating turbine system starting next year.

Halifax-based Minas Energy announced Tuesday it was partnering with Netherlands firm Tocardo International BV and Ontario-based International Marine Energy Inc. to form the Minas Tidal Limited Partnership.

The new partnership plans to test the Dutch company's technology in the Minas Passage by late 2017, the third distinct approach announced recently to harnessing the bay's powerful forces.

Tocardo president Hans Van Breugel said after testing in similar waters off Holland, his company finally feels it's ready for the highest and strongest tides in the world.

"We feel brave enough to go to the Bay of Fundy," said Van Breugel. "The Bay of Fundy is the holy grail."

The Tocardo technology consists of four 250 kilowatt bi-directional open rotor turbine generators which are attached to a floating platform. The partially submerged platforms are held in place with a mooring system that will allow water to flow beneath the turbines.

The company says its in-stream device is designed to ensure the safety of human and marine life.

Van Breugel said he is well aware of objections by local environmentalists and fishermen who contend instream tidal turbines can't be made safe for the ecosystem.

He said his company has conducted extensive environmental monitoring at its projects in Europe and has worked within one of the highest-ranked environmental protection zones off the Netherlands. Van Breugel believes a balance can be struck understanding the benefits and drawbacks of renewable energy technologies.

"I agree with the fishermen, we should understand it (environmental effects). On the other hand I would say to the fisherman that we are in a changing climate ... and if we don't change then nature will change."

The partnership said it would hold consultations with First Nations, local communities and the fishing industry prior to testing.

John Woods, vice-president of energy development for Minas Energy, said his company realizes the importance of community outreach. …

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