New Energy Corporation's 5 kW EnCurrent tidal turbine test.
Nova Scotia has taken another step towards turning its abundant ocean energy resources into an affordable supply of clean, renewable electricity. The province released a plan on May 14 that outlines how it will use local expertise and knowledge to develop the emerging energy sector.
The Marine Renewable Energy Strategy contains broad policy, economic and legal conditions for renewable energy projects and technologies for commercial development in the province.
"It represents a provincial commitment to cleaner and made-in-Nova Scotia energy solutions," said Energy Minister Charlie Parker. "It continues the careful approach we have already taken to explore the potential of tidal electricity in Nova Scotia.
"The strategy will guide work related to in-stream tidal development. We have tapped into the expertise and knowledge of local experts to ensure it is implemented in a socially and environmentally responsible manner."
The plan incorporates feedback from consultations with interested groups and the Mi'kmaq.
It focuses on three main areas: research; development; and regulatory planning. The regulation framework, which is being developed, will protect Nova Scotians' interests and the environment while providing opportunities to invent, design, test and develop the right technologies to harness the province's marine renewable energy.
This report acts on recommendations by Dalhousie University oceanographer Bob Fournier, whose September 2011 report recommended developing a provincial marine renewable strategy and legislation. He outlined 27 recommendations in Marine Renewable Energy Legislation: A Consultative Approach, which focused on in-stream tidal development.
The strategy addresses all of Mr. Fournier's recommendations.
"After five years of intense activity in the pursuit of marine renewable energy, the Department of Energy has produced a strategic plan," said Fournier. "This plan, grounded in public consultation and thoughtful decision-making, is a roadmap that establishes goals, defines priorities and sets benchmarks against which Nova Scotians will be able to measure their progress. This is a useful and important document."
Elisa Obermann, Atlantic director, Ocean Renewable Energy Group, said the announcement enhances the province's global reputation.
"This strategy will ensure that Nova Scotia plays a major leadership role in the marine renewable energy industry worldwide," said Obermann. "It provides the conditions to realize industrial-scale development of tidal energy."
"This plan shows Nova Scotia is thinking long term about tidal energy," said FORCE chair John Woods. "The province is considering everything from environmental effects to costs to economic benefits; all of this is important if tidal is to become part of our future energy mix."
A copy of the strategy and other information can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/energy .