Technology & Science

N.S. Power to test new tidal power generator

Nova Scotia Power is looking at introducing in-stream tidal power, an alternative to placing dams across inlets or rivers to capture the energy of huge volumes of moving water.

Nova Scotia Poweris looking at introducingin-stream tidal power, an alternative to placing dams acrossinlets or rivers to capture the energy of huge volumes of moving water.

The company hasa deal withan Irish partner, which will buildatest model of anin-stream tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy, the Canadian Press reported Friday.

The one-megawattinstallation, to be built by OpenHydro of Dublin, uses adifferent system than Nova Scotia Power's current 20-megawatt plant at Annapolis.

The existing plant harnesses the tidal action of the Bay of Fundy, site of theworld’s highest tides, where a dam funnels the water intogenerators as it flows in and out with the tide.

In contrast, OpenHydro's turbines resemble giant fans with the blades connected to a rotorwhich spins slowly inside the structure as water flows through. Electricity is generated as the rotor turns past a magnet generator on the outer rim of the structure.

The whole"fan" is anchored to the ocean floor, and no dam is required.

The installation probably won't be operationalbefore 2009, a NSP spokeswoman told CP,and it will require a turbine "farm" to produce significant amounts of power.

OpenHydro's website said the speed and volume of water passing through the area, depth and geology of the seabed and distance to a grid connection determine the cost and output of its turbines.

The turbines, with just one moving part,lubricant-free constructionand no seals,give the design simplicity and strength, it said.

Theturbinecould cost up to $12 millionto develop and build, but Nova Scotia Power said in Decemberit had askedSustainable Development Technology Canada to share the cost.

With files from the Canadian Press