An aerial view of the Cape Sable Island Causeway
Municipality of Barrington file photo
By Greg Bennett
For more than 60 years the Cape Sable Island Causeway has separated Barrington Passage and that important link has stopped the natural flow of water in the passage.
That could change as Barrington Municipal Council meets with tidal generation experts in coming months to examine if the causeway, built in 1949, could be opened to allow water to flow through the passage once again, and generate electricity at the same time.
During a Monday, March 10 meeting, councillors listened to a presentation from Mark Sidebottom, of Nova Scotia Power, on the status of renewable resource energy projects in the province.
While the province is no longer accepting Community Feed-In-Tariff applications for large biomass and wind projects, Sidebottom said there might be an opportunity to utilize the program for tidal power generation.
Sidebottom said Nova Scotia Power would find an expert to answer the municipality’s questions on the energy generation potential of the causeway and the feasibility of a future project.
Sidebottom said the generation of tidal power right now is two or three times more expensive than the generation of wind power, but said the technology is improving due to continuing research and development.
He said they would be able to arrange an expert to look at the site within a matter of weeks.
“We would know three or four people with that type of experience,” he said.
He cautioned that the causeway may or may not be an appropriate site for energy generation.
“The question as to whether that is the right site, will require a developer who really knows that tidal type of regime,” he said.
Opening the causeway to allow water to flow once again could have an added benefit as councillors believe the continued growth of a nearby sand spit might be halted.