American company eyes Scott's Bay tidal power

Wendy Elliott
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Interest in tidal energy projects surging in wake of provincial feed-in tariffs

Halcyon Tidal Power, an American company, would like to generate power at Scott’s Bay. – Submitted

By Wendy Elliott

An American company is hoping to secure an exclusive marine lease in Scott’s Bay.

President Ted Verrill said earlier this week Halcyon Tidal Power would like to construct a 1,100-megawatt tidal range lagoon facility. The $3 billion project would stretch from Cape Split across toward Baxter’s Harbour.

Halcyon has communicated with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Natural Resources regarding a marine lease for the project.

Dr. Ramez Atiya, who is chairman of the company, developed the technology in collaboration with Alstom Power, which is one of the world’s leading hydro turbine manufacturers.

Atiya’s research into large diameter piling methods for tidal range power plant construction led to the development of the “Halcyon Enclosure.”  He also created a design that moves turbines both on the ebb and flood tides.

“It’s a far better mouse trap,” Verrill said. The firm hopes to build the tidal power energy industry on five continents with the goal of producing 10 per cent of the world’s power.

“We think we can have impact globally,” he said. Nova Scotia could come to the forefront, Verrill added, but staff at “the department of energy are not tripping over themselves to assist us.”

According to a Jan. 7 letter from the department to Halcyon, consultation with Consultation with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs would have to precede an application.

He went on to point out the environmental protections with the Halcyon design are good for marine life based on U.S. Department of Energy research on the West Coast.

Boats would be able to access a lock to enter and exit the bay.

Verrill said the time line for such a barrage is a long one and Halcyon intends to proceed on a project in Maine first.

“We would be looking to begin construction in 2017 with about a two-year window. That would give us a start up in 2019-2020.”

Verrill said almost all of the construction work on a Scott’s Bay wall barrage – a dam-like structure that allows water to flow both ways - would take place on the water using pre-fab concrete.

“There will be very little interaction with the Scott’s Bay land mass,” he said. “It will go in piece by piece and can be removed.”

Tidal shift

Recently the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board approved the establishment of three new tidal energy feed-in tariffs. In light of that announcement, Verrill says the economics of a “Halcyon Solution” facility in an area with such high tides, are very compelling.

He said the power generated from a Scott’s Bay project would be three times cheaper than that from the Maritime Link in Labrador.

Meanwhile, several tidal power developers are looking at the Bay of Fundy again. The province is looking for developers to bid on the berth near the previous Parrsboro test site. It is accepting proposals until Dec. 16.

Last winter Alstom, which is a France-based conglomerate, said it planned to place a turbine in the Bay of Fundy in about two years.

A London-based, ocean-turbine maker called Atlantis Resources Corp. and Minas Basin Pulp and Power are also hoping to work together, but told the CBC recently they will not have seaworthy designs before 2015.

Nova Scotia has enacted one of the most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standards in North America with a requirement for 40 per cent renewable energy generation by 2020.

The estimated energy potential of the Fundy region is upwards of 60,000 megawatts of energy, of which up to 2,500 megawatts could safely be extracted.


Organizations: Alstom, Nova Scotia Department of Energy, Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi U.S. Department of Energy Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board Maritime Link Atlantis Resources Corp. CBC

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy, West Coast Maine Labrador North America

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Recent comments

  • Donald Teed
    January 15, 2014 - 08:33

    My view on this is very simple. It doesn't matter what or how they are building out there. It must be stopped. Why? For the same reason you don't see a hydro dam in the Grand Canyon or windmills at the Taj Mahal. There are places which are special and deserved to be left as they are. Cape Split is a unique natural formation attracting tourists to hike and see nature. They are not interested in seeing concrete or anything human made. In many cases they have traveled thousands of KM to get away from the madness, noise and smells of civilization for a few hours. Cape Split deserves UNESCO designation. It is far more than just a provincial park.

  • Cynthia Morrison
    December 07, 2013 - 05:58

    This would destroy tourism, not to mention a way of, etc. Why don't we go Solar?

  • Ben William Thomas
    December 06, 2013 - 01:14

    Let us be honest, why do we need a dam, now? We have many years of non-renewable energy sources before we have to consider destroying an entire ecosystem for our own well being! Hit the re-set button!

  • Larry Hatt
    November 27, 2013 - 11:28

    For the love of this special place, let's work to kill this before it gains momentum. Do you really think tourists want to see a dam when they hike the Split? Let's really give the petition a push. If you aren't willing to put your whole name to your comments, are you really committed to them?

  • Dale Steele Nicolov
    November 25, 2013 - 06:31

    I hope that this project never happens. My parents ,grandparents and their parents and so on for many generations have called this beautiful little community their home.If this project is allowed to happen,my beloved little community that I call home will be devastated .All aspects of life here will change and not for the better. I at saddened ,frustrated and upset at the never ending quest of the corporate multi nationals in their pursuit of money and power.Their greed has no boundaries. They do not care who they hurt with their unquenchable appetites to take control of our natural resources. I hope that everyone who cares about Scotts Bay and surrounding areas will make efforts to attempt to stop this very harmful project,contact every national and international organization that they know that could help save Scotts Bay from this threat to their way of life. If you can pass this on as a letter to the editor, I would appreciate this. Thank you. Dale Steele Nicolov

  • Ben
    November 22, 2013 - 22:02

    I appreciate what halcyon is attempting to do. They are taking an innovative approach to managing the current environmental and economic problems associated with tidal range facilities. I wholly support Halcyon in their mission. However they make very strong statements concerning the effectiveness of their engineered solutions to the typically encountered problems in tidal development. I wonder how can these claims be substantiated when Halcyon has yet to develop a full-scale, functioning facility? Engineers have been eyeing Scott's Bay and Cape split for tidal power development since the late 1800s. This area currently supports a diverse mosaic of unique environments and communities as well as generates revenue for local peoples and the Province through various industries. Any development in this region would need to preserve, and preferably augment its current socio-economical value and natural beauty. Until Halcyon implements a successful, full-scale project I cannot even bring myself to entertain this proposal. The area in the Minas Passage has been referred to as the "Mount Everest" of tidal power. Certainly the tidal dynamics and flow regime in Scott's bay are different then those of the Passage but I think that statement speaks to the degree of difficulty inherent to the effective utilization of tidal resource in the Bay of Fundy. The last thing that the Province and Halcyon need is a failed project. I hope the province takes the TIME to FULLY assess the implications of any development in Scott's Bay. I also hope Halcyon is given the opportunity to test it's technologies at the commercial scale in a less sensitive environment. Until such time I cannot support, or even fathom this proposal.

  • Alan Bateman
    November 22, 2013 - 11:33

    The politicians seem to think we elect them to own the province. Our money will be dumped into the project (probably already happening). Lets say the lease gets signed and protests stop the construction; I would imagine that millions of our dollars would have to be paid to Halcyon in cancellation fees. If the project gets built lets jump ahead a few decades, everyone involved in the original project gone, or out of office. Who pays to decommission the site? I would guess Nova Scotia tax payers. If the project went through would Nova Scotians get cheap, greenish energy? No.

  • Natalie Aalders
    November 20, 2013 - 20:17

    Sign the petition to stop this project from destroying our area. Visit the Scott's Bay facebook page for the link.

  • Natalie Aalders
    November 20, 2013 - 20:13

    Sign the petition to stop this project from destroying our area.

  • Lindsay Steele
    November 20, 2013 - 18:25

    Wow I love how our province has thrown our community under the bus, wrecked our property values, destroyed the fishing community and destroyed our tourism.... I am absolutely appalled they would think building a concrete wall would make anyone in Scott's bay happy! They can build an ugly wall but can't put up a windmill that makes sense .

    • Natalie Aalders
      November 21, 2013 - 07:24

      Agreed. I guess Halcyon doesn't realise we live in the county that said "no" to wind power too. The folks against that, just plain did not want to see the windmills. This project is 3 billion times worse.

  • Natalie Aalders
    November 20, 2013 - 16:00

    As an 8th generation resident of Scott's Bay, this deeply disturbs me. As I am building a new restaurant and store in the village, putting everything I have (and some) into Scott's Bay, this development stands to destroy everything we have here. Not only will it destroy the marine animal life, it will destroy our tourism industry, which I am counting on for my livelihood. People come here from all over the world to take in the majesty of Cape Split. From what I read, these aren't bottom anchored turbines. They want to build an enormous dam across Scott's Bay! People will not come to look at an enormous concrete wall. I could have done that when I lived out west. This is the wrong way to go about tidal energy. And who would benefit? Not the marine life, not anyone in Scott's Bay, or Nova Scotia, with the exception of the politicians who will have full campaign fund bank accounts if this goes through. Are they going to give me a well paying job when my business suffers? Or the fishermen? No. You can trust that rather than employing locals, they will bring in engineers and contractors from away, likely not even Canadian. I can assure you that your power bills won't go down when they sell the energy to the USA. It may be considered "Clean" energy, but our government also tries to tell us the Oil Sands in Fort McMurray are safe and clean too. Yes, we have the highest tides in the world, but a giant dam enclosing all Scott's Bay? Get real. Bottom anchored turbines are less envasive and should be the only thing that our government should consider for an area with so much natural beauty and history. There are better places to have dams, away from tourist spots and the Cape Split Provincial Park Preserve. And to the guy above who said it is a good idea, obviously you have no vested interest in Scott's Bay.

    • Ashton Whitcomb
      November 20, 2013 - 22:15

      Natalie and other concerned Nova Scotians, I work for Halcyon Tidal Power and I would like to address your concerns. 1. The Scots Bay project is not a dam, because it has none of the negative characteristics of dams, namely: sedimentation, impoundment of water, and impediment or damage to marine life. Our company has been working for the last decade developing turbine technology that specifically addresses and eliminates these issues that have been a problem for tidal barrages in the past. Its the entire reason our company was founded, to develop tidal range power in an environmentally friendly way. Especially important is that our tidal range technology DOES NOT alter the tidal amplitude in the basin. This is patented technology that no other tidal power company can or has ever offered. Additionally, our turbines have been modified with a special gearbox to spin very slowly, and have thickened leading edges specially designed to protect fish. The turbine and sluice gate openings are many meters wide and can easily accomodate fish and marine mammals. 2. The impact of tidal range facilities on tourism has been overwhelmingly positive. The Rance tidal power station in France attracts 40,000 tourists annually. 3. Freestanding tidal turbines (also called tidal stream, current, or hydrokinetic turbines) have significant problems. Primarily, they are not even close to being economic, and would produce power for about 4 or 5 times what you currently pay for electricity in Nova Scotia. Second, these devices do cause major environmental damage (sedimentation, reduction of tidal amplitude, etc) when deployed at a scale that creates meaningful amounts of power (the scale necessary to fight climate change). 4. While Halcyon Tidal Power is the technology license provider, Scots Bay Tidal Power Ltd, a Canadian company registered in Halifax, is the project developer. Alstom turbines would all be manufactured in Canada, and all other components would be manufactured on site using primarily Canadian labor. All of this information is described in great detail on our website, I recommend you read through our environmental and economics pages, as well as more detailed documentation on our resources page.

    • Lindsay Steele
      November 21, 2013 - 07:03

      Anyone can register a joint stock company in Halifax, that doesn't mean the shareholders are from Nova Scotia or canada. Secondly, you don't live here we do and we don't want to look at a concrete wall. Thirdly if you think your wall is so awesome go build it someone where's else because people and environmentalist should be banging down your door all down the bay of fundy. You are a Greedy American company that's see $, you could careless about the area, environment or the people who love here..... This is a joke.

    • Natalie Aalders
      November 21, 2013 - 07:07

      Ashton Whitcomb of Halcyon, I am sorry you feel we are ignorant. I read your page before I posted my previous comment. To say it is not a dam is foolish. Is it not a giant concrete wall with turbines and a lock system. It may not be holding back water, but that wasn't my concern. My concern is that you would have to be a fool to believe that the installation of such a wall across the body of water, that I wake up and look out across every morning, would not be harmful. 'Oh we are going to install a 3 billion dollar dam like lagoon and no one will be affected, we promise.' Is that the best you have. In Canada, we are a little brighter than to trust what the American company tells us without any independent study. That is impossible to say no one will be affected, but hey, I only have a Master's degree in Science-so what do I know. There are several fisherman here that have nets anchored to the shoreline, can you tell me that those fish will get through that wall? If you even try, we will know you are lying. I want to eat the fish, but how is my neighbour down the road supposed to catch them if you disrupt the fishing grounds his family has fished for generations? Tell him to go elsewhere? You can go elsewhere. We were here first. Scots Bay Tidal Power Inc., though it may be registered in Canada, is a company owned by Halcyon is it not? So it's no more "Canadian" than McDonald's or Walmart in New Minas and we all know how much Walmart cares for the environment. The power may be cheaper for you, which means bigger profits for you, but there has been no singular promise in any of the documents on your website that customers in Nova Scotia will have lower power bills, because that would be binding and it wouldn't be good for your profits, now would it? After all, you would have a 3 billion dollar project to pay for first. And can you say without a waver in your voice that the folks whose livelihoods you will destroy will get those good paying jobs or any sort of compensation for coming through our village with a wrecking ball? Our petition on is telling you where to go and how to get there. I suggest you have a look at that and simply withdraw your application now. People that care about Scott's Bay will ensure your lagoon doesn't come anywhere near OUR waters. We don't want you here. It's that simple. You are free to muck up your own country as much as you like, but to try to tell me that it will increase tourism, well I am certain you have never been to Scott's Bay. No one who is in tune with the people or the village could imagine that anyone could be so ignorant of what we already have here.

    • Natalie Aalders
      November 21, 2013 - 08:48

      The only person that should have exclusive marine rights to Scott's Bay are the local (non-dragger) fishermen. It is in their best interest to have practices that maintain the stock and the sea floor. BTW, Scots Bay Tidal Power Limited is owned by Americans, just look it up in the Joint Stock Registry. Wow, Ashton Whitcomb of Halcyon Tidal Power. You do think we are stupid! I wonder who the directors of your company are?

  • why?
    November 20, 2013 - 15:03

    good idea, but when all the naysayers in NS get hold of might as well "fagedaboutit". A codfish or seagull might not be able to sleep at night!!!

    • Cynthia Morrison
      December 07, 2013 - 16:03

      Big Oil is bad. Solar is Safe.

  • Spurlyn Gates
    November 20, 2013 - 11:44

    Not sure how the wealthy Arabs would like this ? On I must go pay my Light bill ,as well as my oil Bill too I wounder cheep they are this month.

    • Cynthia Morrison
      December 07, 2013 - 06:09

      This would destroy tourism here, not to mention a way of, community, etc. (By the way, Fish are the only source of wild food left on the planet.) We need to clean the ocean, not put more stuff in it. But also, this area voted on the list of the Seven Wonders in the World due to its spectacular beauty. Hence tourism..tourism is our economy....don't you see the commercials on TV? Don't you know why people retire here. Also, scientists like Dr. David Suzuki say that we have a very unique & FRAGILE Eco-system here, in Atlantic Canada that if messed with effects the whole planet. Why don't we go Solar for our energy needs? That is safe.