Novia Scotia Maps A Tidal Power Future

As a result of the vast ocean swells that lap up against the shores of Nova Scotia, the Canadian province is thought to be sitting on a formidable source of renewable energy.

Now Nova Scotia’s government has signaled its commitment to harvesting its abundant ocean resources for power with the release of an energy strategy for the province that envisions some 300 megawatts (MW) of tidal power coming online in the next decade or so.

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image vía Novia Scotia Government

According to who you believe, 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 equivalent of 2,500 MW of tidal power. Other estimates put the amount of potential energy in the bay at more than triple that — as high as 8,000 MW.

According to the province’s government, the Marine Renewable Energy Strategy (MRES) [PDF] contains “broad policy, economic and legal conditions for renewable energy projects and technologies for commercial development in the province.” The government said it will help it move forward in developing this emerging energy sector.

The document was put together following consultation with interested parties, including the Mi’kmaq indigenous group whose tribal lands border the bay. The consultation process with the tribe was initiated last year and pertains to tidal energy projects in Digby County.

Talking about the MRES, Nova Scotia’s Energy Minister Charlie Parker said in a statement: “It represents a provincial commitment to cleaner and made-in-Nova Scotia energy solutions. It continues the careful approach we have already taken to explore the potential of tidal electricity in Nova Scotia.”

“The strategy will guide work related to in-stream tidal development. We have tapped into the expertise and knowledge of local experts to ensure it is implemented in a socially and environmentally responsible manner,” the minister added.

A host of international firms have been clamoring to trial tidal projects in the coastal waters of the bay.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.