The Maine-based marine-energy company Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) is formally going international, announcing formation of ORPC Nova Scotia. And it’s little wonder why: According to ORPC, each day more than 160 billion tons of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy, which has the Maine coast on one side and Nova Scotia on the other. That’s more than four times the combined flow of every freshwater river in the world, and the company believes 2,500 megawatts (MW) of tidal power can be safely harvested there.
If that sounds like a lot of power, understand that it might very well be a conservative estimate. Earlier this year, when the Atlantis Corporation, announced a test project in Minas Passage, a smaller cove outside Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, we reported that estimates for the Bay of Fundy’s tidal power ranged as high as 8,000 MW.
While the formal Nova Scotia-based venture is new, ORPC has been invested in developing tidal power on the Canadian side of the Bay of Fundy since earlier this year, when it formed a partnership with Fundy Tidal (FTI). And on the Maine side of the bay, as we reported, in 2010 the company completed the Beta TidGen Power System project, said to be the largest ocean energy device ever installed in U.S. waters.
The planned project off Nova Scotia, expected to be completed in fall 2012, will supply up to 2 MW of electricity to Digby County through the use of the TidGen Power System. A provincial feed-in tarrif program is helping drive the project, along with $750,000 from Nova Scotia to fund small tidal energy projects such as that proposed by ORPC and FTI.