Nova Scotia law changes would see new power purchase agreements for tidal energy

Image: Cape Sharp Tidal

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia government is proposing legislative changes to further support the development of tidal energy.

Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette says the government will issue new power purchase agreements to existing tariff holders in the Bay of Fundy's Minas Basin.

He says the changes to the Marine Renewable-energy Act will give tidal power developers more time to build on their progress.

Developers will have the ability to sell electricity to Nova Scotia Power for up to 15 years, once their projects are operational.

They operate under a system known as feed-in tariffs, an incentive that guarantees a rate per kilowatt-hour of energy fed into the provincial electricity grid.

There are currently four licence holders at the province's test site in the Minas Passage.

The department has also approved three demonstration permits.

“Tidal developers have invested significantly here, and we're seeing progress, but it can take decades for a new industry to develop,” Mombourquette said in a news release.

Elisa Obermann, executive director of Marine Renewables Canada, welcomed the proposed legislative changes.

“Government is recognizing the challenges that an emerging clean technology like tidal energy faces to reach commercialization,” she said. “The amendments establish the predictability and certainty tidal developers need to build on previous investments, attract additional support, and ensure projects advance successfully.”

The province has long touted the massive energy potential of the Bay of Fundy's tides — among the world's most powerful — however, large-scale commercial efforts have not been overwhelmingly successful so far.

In June, Nova Scotia Power said it generates 30 per cent of its power from renewable sources, with nine per cent coming from hydroelectric and tidal turbines.

A recent study commissioned by the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia said that by 2040, the tidal energy industry could contribute up to $1.7 billion to Nova Scotia's gross domestic product and create up to 22,000 full-time jobs.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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