Canada aids financing of research into tidal energy

The Canadian government is to contribute $20m (£14.6m) to help finance the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE), where researchers are deploying tidal-energy devices that can extract energy from the Minas Passage in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.

The research centre has also signed an $11m contract for the production and installation of four subsea cables in the Minas Passage test site. Scheduled for installation in 2011, the cables will give the centre the largest offshore transmission capacity of any in-stream tidal-energy site in the world.

Each of the four subsea cables for the test site has the capacity to handle 16MW of power. With a combined length of 11km, all four cables will be capable of connecting about 64 devices to the grid, allowing Nova Scotians to receive clean electricity directly from the Bay of Fundy.

IT International Telecom will complete work for nearly half of the cable contract for $5.3m out of its Marine Terminal in the Halifax Harbour.

The company will also manage the project to completion, overseeing cable testing and transportation to site, through to final installation of all four cables from the shore to their subsea berths.

The cables and accessories will be manufactured by Prysmian at its submarine cable facility in Arco Felice, Italy. Prysmian makes cables and systems for the energy and telecommunications sectors, and has supplied cable connections to offshore wind developments in Europe.

Existing participants in the project include Nova Scotia Power (with OpenHydro), Alstom (with Clean Current), and Minas Basin Pulp and Power (with Marine Current Turbines).

Funding partners include the government of Canada, the province of Nova Scotia and Encana Corporation.