Canada’s Best Tide Forward

As Brazil turns the tide to its better environmental self, the New York Times reporter Ian Austen explains how Canada harnesses its best tide for an environmental feat long dreamed of:

The Bay of Fundy’s funnel shape is part of the reason for its exceptional tides. Along its 96 or so miles of length, the bay dramatically narrows and its depth drops, from 765 feet to 147 feet. David Goldman for The New York Times

Who Will Win the Race to Generate Electricity From Ocean Tides?

The Bay of Fundy, between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, has one of the world’s most powerful tides. Now, engineers and scientists hope to finally turn it into a clean energy source.

ABOARD THE PLAT-I 6.40 GENERATING PLATFORM, Nova Scotia — The Bay of Fundy, off the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, has long tantalized and frustrated engineers hoping to harness its record-setting 50-foot high tide to generate electricity.

After more than a century of attempts, there has only been one small power-generating station, since closed, and countless broken dreams, abandoned plans and bankruptcies.

Even so, a new coalition of entrepreneurs and scientists in Nova Scotia are trying again. One participant, a company called Sustainable Marine, has devised a new technology and successfully operated it for more than seven months, longer than any other similar system, producing enough electricity for about 250 homes.

Sustainable Marine’s innovation is that rather than placing stationary turbines onto the seabed as has been tried in the past, it floats movable ones on the surface, lifting them when a dangerous object approaches and for maintenance.

If the platform continues to prove reliable, is economically viable and doesn’t harm marine life, it will have harnessed not just a new source of renewable energy, but also one of the most reliable ones in the world. Because unlike wind or sunshine, tides are unceasing and completely predictable.

Sustainable Marine is one of five racing to produce a viable method of electrical generation in the Bay of Fundy and, it hopes, in dozens of similar tidal regions in the world…

Read the whole article here.

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