A key for the development of tidal power projects in the Bay of Fundy is a better understanding of the powerful tides. This understanding will be substantially improved by an advanced sensor platform that is being built for the Minas Passage.
The platform is being developed by The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE). When it has been completed it will be able to be used to get constant up to the minute information about the tidal currents at the FORCE site.
The platform will measure the tide, current flow and water quality and the information will be relayed back using a 3-kilometer subsea data cable. This cable has been in place since 2013.
Tony Wright, general manager of FORCE, said: “The platform builds on the successful deployment last year of the first subsea cable ever laid in the Minas Passage – a task that proved we can work in the world’s most challenging tidal site.”
The platform is part of FORCE’s Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) program. This program has been devised to monitor the FORCE site and requires a recoverable platform that has onboard sensory equipment.
The platform project manager for FORCE is Simon Melrose and he was recently speaking at the Nova Scotia Energy Research and Development Forum where construction contracts were announced. He pointed out that before the power of the Bay of Fundy could be harnessed it needed to be understood.
FORCE general manager Tony Wright said: “We expect most of this work will be carried out by local firms – proving that Nova Scotia and Canada already have the expertise to lead this industry.”
Local companies that are involved in the operation include Open Seas Instrumentation from Musquodoboit Harbour is designing and building the platform, while EMO Marine Technologies from Eastern Passage is designing and building the communication system that will bring the data ashore via the fibre optic data cable. Mackenzie Atlantic Tool and Die is also based in Musquodoboit Harbour and is building the specialised stainless steel housing for the equipment.
There is already a great deal of interest in the Bay of Fundy by many parties, notably those involved in the Maine Tidal Energy Project.