Sustainable Marine is to deliver the world’s first floating tidal energy array. Construction of the 420-kW PLAT-I 6.40 platform was recently completed at A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. in Meteghan, Nova Scotia, and it was then launched in the Bay of Fundy, which experiences the highest tides on earth.

It will undergo commissioning and testing in Grand Passage and will then be moved to the FORCE (Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy) site as part of the first phase of the ground-breaking Pempa’q In-stream Tidal Energy Project. The Pempa’q Project takes its name from the Mi’kmaq First Nation word “Pempa’q” meaning “rise of the tide”, in honour of the Bay of Fundy’s Indigenous communities.

Nine megawatts

The total in-stream tidal energy project will deliver up to nine megawatts of electricity to the Nova Scotia grid. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and power approximately 3000 homes in Nova Scotia.

‘This ‘tidal technology is the result of a tremendous international effort combining world-class scientific and engineering expertise from our German, Scottish and Canadian teams, and is the culmination of a decade of research and development,’ says Jason Hayman CEO of Sustainable Marine. ‘We are very fortunate to have such strong support from our major shareholders, Schottel and Scottish Enterprise, the Government of Canada, and a wide range of partners and collaborators. The PLAT-I 6.40 has been designed specifically for the Pempa’q Project – where we will deliver the world’s first floating tidal array – in Nova Scotia, which has the best natural resources in the world to produce clean renewable tidal energy.’

The Pempa’q Instream Tidal Energy project is being supported by the Government of Canada with $ 28.5 million in funding– one of Canada’s largest-ever investments in tidal energy.

Tidal platform

The PLAT-I 6.40 builds on the lessons learned and experience gained from Sustainable Marine’s previous successful deployments in Scotland and Nova Scotia. It was designed specifically for the FORCE site, and produces fifty per cent more power than its predecessor, the PLAT-I 4.63, which has undergone rigorous testing since 2017, firstly in Scotland before relocation to Grand Passage, Nova Scotia, in 2018.

During testing the system has successfully produced power and has demonstrated it can operate in adverse weather conditions. It is also measuring crucial environmental effects and has not recorded any evidence of adverse impacts on fish or marine animals.

The innovative tidal platform only requires two metres of water for launching and towing and is moored with a turret configuration allowing it to align with the tide or the river flow. It has been designed so it is easy to install and is accessible for maintenance and servicing, addressing one of the key challenges experienced by earlier tidal energy developers.

This new technology was originally developed in Scotland with support from Scottish Enterprise’s WATERS funding, before arriving in Nova Scotia.