The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) was established in 2009 as Canada’s leading test centre for tidal energy technology. FORCE is a non-profit grid-connected test facility in the Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy, intended to allow developers, regulators, scientists, and academics to study and demonstrate the performance of in-stream tidal energy turbines and their interactions with the environment. The FORCE site consists of five undersea berths for tidal in-stream energy conversion devices, subsea power cables that can enable connection of turbines to land-based infrastructure, a subsea data cable, an onshore transformer substation, and a shore-based visitor centre. The marine portion of the project is located in a Crown Lease Area, 1.6 km by 1 km in area, in the Minas Passage near Black Rock, and the onshore facilities are on leased lands on the West Bay Road approximately 10km West of Parrsboro.
FORCE’s test site is in the Minas Passage area of the Bay of Fundy near Black Rock, 10 km west of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. Minas Passage, only 5 km wide and bordered by basalt cliffs, is the entrance to Minas Basin, the region of the world’s highest tides.
At mid-tide, the current in Minas Passage is about 4 cubic km per hour, the same as the estimated combined flow of all the rivers and streams on Earth combined. With the incoming tide, approximately 14 billion tonnes of sea water flows through Minas Passage into Minas Basin, and central Nova Scotia tilts slightly under the immense load.
The first turbine (OpenHydro Design) was deployed on November 12, 2009 by Nova Scotia Power Inc. The NSPI/OpenHydro turbine was retrieved in December 2010.
In November 2017, Cape Sharp Tidal Venture (a joint venture between OpenHydro and Emera) deployed a single two-megawatt turbine at ‘Berth D’ at the FORCE site. In June 2017, the turbine was temporarily retrieved for upgrades, with plans to redeploy in mid-2018. Cape Sharp Tidal Venture has approval to deploy another similar size turbine.
The other berth holders at the site are:
- Berth A:Minas Tidal – a partnership of International Marine Energy and Tocardo turbines (4.0 MW)
- Berth B: Black Rock Tidal Power - TRITON platform developed by TidalStream, supports 36 lightweight horizontal axis SCHOTTEL STG turbines (5.0 MW)
- Berth C: Atlantis Operations (Canada) Limited) – in partnership with DP Energy (4.5 MW)
- Berth E: DP Energy – Andritz turbines (4.5 MW)
In 2014, FORCE installed four subsea power cables, which will enable berth holders to connect to the Nova Scotia electrical grid. Each cable has the capacity to transmit 16 MW of electricity to shore.
In addition, FORCE has implemented two key programs:
- Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) Program, which consists of onshore and offshore assets to support research and development and to advance efforts to monitor and characterize the FORCE site. More information: fundyforce.ca/fast.
- Environmental Effects Monitoring Program (EEMP), which has been in place since 2009 to improve the understanding of the environmental conditions of the site and to test the predictions of the Environmental Assessment. More information: fundyforce.ca/environment.
The complete Environmental Assessment Registration Document for FORCE (Registered on June 17, 2009 under the Nova Scotia Environment Act), including the Terms and Conditions of Approval (issued September 15, 2009) can be viewed at: fundyforce.ca/environment/enviromental-assesment/.
FORCE also has a Crown land lease from the Province of Nova Scotia, which allows it to conduct activities at its demonstration site. Berth holders at the FORCE site are selected by the Nova Scotia Department of Energy.
Each berth holder is responsible for obtaining all permits and approvals for their individual project. This includes authorizations and/or reviews from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, and a review of its environmental effects monitoring program by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment.
Physical environment, benthic habitat, fish movement, marine mammals, sea birds, and lobster presence in the Minas Passage; and the impact of turbine-generated noise on marine life.
Environmental Webpage: http://fundyforce.ca/environment/