Commissioning the First Cape Sharp Tidal Turbine
Since November 8, 2016, the first Cape Sharp Tidal demonstration turbine has been producing electricity, lighting Nova Scotia homes, and gathering important environmental data at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy near Parrsboro. The purpose of this demonstration phase is to understand how instream technology performs in the Minas Passage—home of the world’s highest tides—and to advance environmental research about marine life will respond.
Since deployment, we’ve been commissioning the turbine and its systems, testing capacity and production during different tidal cycles and ramping up production over time. And we’re happy to share that the turbine is performing well and as expected.
In the coming weeks, our teams will be preparing to temporarily retrieve the turbine to make modifications to some of the Turbine Control Centre (TCC) components. The TCC is an electrical component sub-system attached to the subsea base and connected to the turbine which allows us to transform the raw power from the generator into grid-compatible AC power. It also sends operational and environmental sensor data to shore in real time through our subsea cable.
The retrieval is much like deployment in reverse; we’ll aim to disconnect the subsea cable system with the same marine assets used for the connection in November, and then with the Scotia Tide barge and recovery frame system, bring the turbine to the surface in a single tidal cycle. We’ll bring the turbine to Saint John with the Scotia Tide barge, where it will stay dockside while we bring the TCC inside for maintenance. As always, safety will be our top priority in marine operations.
This is the first time OpenHydro’s pioneering TCC technology has been used anywhere in the world. Its design has been a critical step in advancing the ability to generate electricity from multiple turbines at sea and export to shore via a single export cable. Taking steps to ensure the TCC continues to perform its critical function is key to how we’ll measure success of this demonstration phase, and advance our understanding about the viability of tidal energy as a source of clean, renewable power.
The first tidal window for this operation is April 15 – April 20, then about every two weeks thereafter. Redeployment at the FORCE site will get underway after the work is complete.
Renewable Energy Now and In the Future
We’re proud of the investments we’ve made in Nova Scotia communities and the role we’ve played in creating new jobs in the clean energy sector. The new technology we’re using has been built, installed and will be maintained locally. The clean energy potential of the Minas Passage could be transformative to our Province. We believe tidal can play an important role in our energy future so we are taking the time to get this right.