Tidal Power

What is Tidal Power?

  • Tidal energy is the term used to describe the energy generated from power found in ocean tidal currents and the use of tidal height differences.
  • These two tidal energy sources are referred to as tidal stream and tidal barrage or lagoon.
  • Tidal streams are currents in the ocean water column, created as the water of the ocean rises and falls with the movement of the tides.
  • More recent commercialization efforts have focused on tidal stream technologies that harvest kinetic energy from the water currents.
  • Tidal currents are strongest where the water passage is accelerated around headlands, over shoals or in narrows.
  • Historical tidal energy developments focused more on barrage-style infrastructure where a dam-like structure is build across an area with a high tidal range.
  • The Annapolis Royal tidal energy station in Nova Scotia, which still operates today, is one of only three such power stations in the world.

Why Tidal?

  • The west coast of BC has been identified as having some of the best tidal energy potential in the world.
  • BC has numerous areas of tidal energy potential, located in the coasts many fjords and channels.
  • A 2006 tidal energy resource assessment identified 89 tidal energy project sites in BC with an estimated 4,000 MW of potential energy.
  • Modern tidal turbines are also being installed in rivers, irrigation canals, wastewater flows, and estuaries.
  • BC’s abundant river and estuary networks provide further renewable energy opportunities for the majority of its population.
  • Due to the nature of tidal energy, it is highly predictable and forecastable.
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The Technology

  • Tidal energy plants will be made up of arrays of individual generators in suitable high-current areas.
  • Each tidal energy device is designed use the energy in tidal stream flows to drive a generator to convert it to power.
  • There have been many tidal energy device designs, however three main methods are used:
    • Cross-flow or vertical axis turbines
    • Axial or horizontal axis turbines
    • Reciprocating hydrofoils
  • CROSS-FLOW OR VERTICAL AXIS TURBINES – the turbine is placed in the tidal stream flow, as the water flows past, the vertical turbine blades move to rotate a central shaft driving a generator producing power.
  • AXIAL OR HORIZONTAL AXIS TURBINES – these turbines are somewhat similar to modern wind turbines; as the tidal stream flows past, the turbine blades rotate a horizontal shaft producing power through a generator.
  • RECIPROCATING HYDROFOILS – working like a fish’s tail and controlled by pitch, the hydrofoils are forced up and down by the stream flow transferring power to drive a generator.
TidalPower

Tidal Power in BC

  • In September of 2006, Clean Current Power Systems installed a tidal turbine at the Race Rocks ecological station.
  • The turbine, in combination with a solar and battery system, became the first complete ocean energy power system displacing diesel on the island.
  • New Energy Corp and Canoe Pass Tidal Energy have received federal SDTC funding and provincial ICE funding for a project near Campbell River.
  • The Canoe Pass project is the first tidal energy project to undergo the federal environmental assessment process.
  • Site investigations are underway for other potential projects.
  • In 2010 BC created the potential for an emerging energy feed-in tariff program that will assist in creating a market for this sector.
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Environmental & Regulatory Considerations

  • There are no known environmental issues for tidal energy.
  • Strategic Environmental Assessments have been completed in a number of areas, including the Bay of Fundy.
  • While concerns exist for ecological impacts and disruption to local fishing, mitigation measures will be implemented.
  • Research continues to be conducted on potential environmental impacts at a number of academic institutions.
  • Until devices have spent significant time in the real world applications, environmental impacts can only be estimated.

Socio-Economic Benefits

  • The power from ocean energy will be green electricity, using a renewable source of energy and not emitting greenhouse gases.
  • This decreases the need for fossil fuels for electricity production and aids in combating the effects of climate change.
  • Canadian green ocean energy will be in demand for energy exports.
  • Ocean generated electricity is a method of reducing the risk associated with price fluctuations of conventional fuel sources, creating energy price security.
  • Utilizing a number of different energy sources aids in energy security, decreasing the reliance on a single energy source, and increasing energy self-sufficiency.
  • Ocean energy project and device development will create direct jobs as well as employment for related industries such as marine manufacturing, engineering and oceanography, and power supply and service sectors.

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