Irish firm deploys world’s first commercial tidal turbine in Canada

17 Nov 2009

Irish company OpenHydro has successfully deployed the first commercial scale in-stream tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, on behalf of its customer, Nova Scotia Power.

The development sees the emergence of a new renewable energy market.

The one-megawatt (1MW) rated commercial scale turbine reached the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) deployment site, in the Minas Passage, on 11 November.

It’s working

The turbine was fully deployed last Thursday and is now operational, rotating with the tides, collecting data, and producing energy.

“Today’s announcement is an historic first for both OpenHydro and Nova Scotia,” said James Ives, CEO of OpenHydro.

“For the first time, thanks to Nova Scotia Power’s foresight and OpenHydro’s technology, a commercial size in-stream tidal turbine has been successfully deployed in what is undoubtedly one of the world’s strongest tidal energy resources.”

Once on site, the 400-tonne device was lowered within one hour to its intended location on the ocean floor by the purpose-built barge called the OpenHydro Installer. The tidal turbine, barge and the deployment method were all designed and developed by OpenHydro. The turbines are manufactured in Ireland.

Secured on seabed

The turbine now rests on the seabed, secured in place by a subsea gravity base designed by OpenHydro and fabricated by Cherubini Metal Works, a Dartmouth, Nova Scotia-based company.

Nova Scotia Power’s involvement with this tidal energy test facility is supported by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), an arm’s-length, not-for-profit corporation created by the Government of Canada.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Open-Centre Turbine is designed to be deployed directly on the seabed.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years