Nova Scotia

Cape Sharp Tidal turbine removed from water for repairs, upgrades

The turbine now sits in Saint John and the company that operates it has cancelled plans to conduct testing in St. Marys Bay.

Company cancels plans to conduct testing in St. Marys Bay

The Cape Sharp Tidal turbine was lowered into the Minas Passage in November 2016. (Cape Sharp Tidal)

The Cape Sharp Tidal turbine has been removed from the Minas Passage, but plans to conduct testing at another location farther down the Nova Scotia coast have been cancelled.

The company had planned to move the turbine in April from near Parrsboro to St. Marys Bay to do some short-term hydrodynamic testing. But a mooring line became entangled in it, so the move was postponed.

Cape Sharp spokesperson Stacey Pineau said the company now has no plans to resume the testing in St. Marys Bay. The proposed testing had drawn opposition from some fishermen, who said no environmental assessment had been carried out for that work.

Pineau said it took just over an hour to lift the 1,000-tonne, five-storey turbine on Thursday morning.

"Everything went very smoothly. It all went completely according to plan," Pineau said.

Inspections and upgrades

The massive piece of equipment is now sitting in Saint John, where the company plans to carry out inspections and upgrades.

"I would say the turbine is in good condition," Pineau said. "We are still completing an investigation of it to have a complete understanding of everything related to its condition."

The turbine, pictured above in Pictou in June 2016, is now sitting in Saint John. (Cape Sharp Tidal)

The turbine control centre, which transforms the raw power from the generator to power that is grid-compatible, will receive upgrades while it is in Saint John.

Pineau said the company decided not to do the test in St. Marys Bay because an initial inspection revealed that some of the turbine's anodes — which help protect it from corrosion — were missing.

Fishermen's association responds

Colin Sproul, of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen's Association, said the removal of the turbine is "a positive development" because the company has not been able to monitor the equipment since the turbine was disconnected from the transmission cable two months ago.

"For us, it's a total vindication of what we've been hollering about for a year now — that there is no ability to monitor the turbine, either its operational side or environmental effects side," he said.

Sproul said the situation also raises concerns about how quickly the company is able to remove the turbine if there's a problem.