American company eyes Scott's Bay tidal power

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

Wendy Elliott
Published on November 20, 2013

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.