NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece from Energy Minister Michel Samson.
Tidal energy is an opportunity for growth here in Nova Scotia.
With a force unmatched around the world the tides that flow through the Bay of Fundy can support the development of clean, renewable power and a new Nova Scotia industry, estimated to be worth up to $1.7 billion to our economy.
Already tidal has launched new companies, created hundreds of jobs and attracted millions of dollars of local and international investment in research and development.
Our province is on the global forefront of tidal energy development. Opportunities like this don’t come along every day. It’s critical we get it right.
Since 2007, when the province first commissioned a strategic environmental assessment of the Bay of Fundy, we have sought input from communities, fishermen, small businesses, scientists and tidal developers to shape our plans. This input helped to inform Nova Scotia’s Marine Renewable Energy legislation, a regulatory framework produced in advance, and in support of, commercial development. Supporting regulations will set clear rules for any new development.
The World Wildlife Federation has called this work groundbreaking.
We believe the only way to capture the opportunity before us is to ensure it is sustainable. That means protecting our environment and another major part of our economy – our fisheries.
One of the benefits of tidal energy is that it can be scaled up or down as needed. Each developer has been given the right to test two or three devices within a defined area. By going slow, with only two devices to be deployed in the initial phase of the project, we can build our understanding and allow time to make adjustments.
The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE), located in Parrsboro, is Canada’s leading research centre for in-stream tidal energy and host to tidal technology developers.
FORCE is launching an enhanced environmental monitoring program to better understand any impacts tidal energy might have on fish in the bay. Since its conception in 2009 this program has evolved as a result of input from government, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and FORCE’s environmental monitoring advisory committee, which includes independent scientific experts, First Nations and fishery representatives.
What we learn through research and monitoring and from ongoing discussions with stakeholders, will continue to feed into decisions concerning any larger-scale projects.
Nova Scotia can be first. We can compete on an international scale, introduce Nova Scotian businesses to new markets, and boost our rural economies, all while respecting our natural resources and our environment.
Building a thriving tidal sector on innovation, research and collaboration can help us become a global leader and create a better future for ourselves and our children.