The PLAT-I (PLATform for Inshore energy) is a tidal energy converter, equipped with four SCHOTTEL Hydro SIT250 tidal turbines, that is installed at the Grand Passage, Nova Scotia. The device has been developed to access sheltered lower resource sites around the world in places such as Asia and South America where tidal and run of river energy can be directly competitive with expensive, unreliable, and dirty local electricity generation methods.
PLAT-I’s design has been developed through numerical modelling and scale model testing at the University of Edinburgh’s FloWave test tank. Its trimaran design to provides low resistance and enhanced lateral and longitudinal stability. The mooring turret integrated into SME’s proprietary design enables alignment with tide or river flow in any direction. The unique in the industry swing up turbine deployment modules (SDMs) allow access to the turbines above the surface of the water, and coupled with the low mass of the SCHOTTEL turbines allows blades and nacelle to be swapped out at site. The modular design can be broken down for shipping and road transportation allowing assembly close to installation site.
Located in Grand Passage, between Long Island and Brier Island in Digby County, Nova Scotia, Canada. Coordinates 44.26903 N, -66.3393112 W at water depth 14m.
With regards to federal oversight, all projects must adhere to applicable federal legislation regardless of where the project is located, e.g., Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012); Canadian Environmental Protection Act 1999; Fisheries Act; Migratory Birds Convention Act; Navigable Waters Protection Act and Species at Risk Act. For a complete list of acts, orders and regulations, refer to Justice Canada’s website. For the PLAT-I deployment at Grand Passage, the only federal permits are required are a Fisheries Act authorisation and Species at Risk Act permit issued by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and a navigation protection permit issued by Transport Canada. A Demonstration Permit is also required from the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and Mines.
Part of PLAT-I's development has been funded by Innovate UK and the Department for International Development, and as a result the first PLAT-I platform underwent an extensive testing programme in Connel, Scotland, in 2017 and 2018.
Following the completion of this testing programme, the PLAT-I device was relocated to Grand Passage, Nova Scotia and installed in September 2018. On 23 February 2019, the system generated first power in Nova Scotia. A press release from June 2019 stated that the first phase of testing the PLAT-I system had been successfully concluded.
With phase 1 of the PLAT-I device testing completed in Grand Passage the project has moved into phase 2 in late 2019, which entails additional testing of systems and collection of environmental monitoring data. Phase 3 will begin in 2021 with grid connection of the device.
Key Environmental Issues
Interaction between marine animals and the turbines has been raised a possible concern and a monitoring program developed to investigate this.
Post-Installation Monitoring: PLAT-I 4.63 Tidal Energy
|Stressor||Receptor||Study Description||Design and Methods||Results||Status|
|Collision||Marine Mammals||Visual surveys for marine animals and underwater video monitoring for interaction between marine animals and turbines. |
The aims are: Enumerating or estimating the relative abundance of fish and/or aquatic species at risk observed; identifying fish and/or aquatic species at risk observed to the lowest possible taxonomic level; describing the behaviour of fish and/or aquatic species at risk observed where possible; noting any collisions between fish and/or aquatic species at risk and a turbine; and noting any mortality of fish and/or aquatic species at risk likely resulting from turbine operation.
|Staff supervising the operation of the platform conducted visual surveys, looking at the area within a few hundred metres of PLAT-I, to identify any marine mammals at 30-minute intervals during turbine operation. Detailed review of representative segments of video of operation, including different operational periods and tidal stages. ||No contact between large vertebrates and the turbines being observed; no contact or interaction between large vertebrates and the turbines has being observed. ||Ongoing. Began February 2019.|
|Collision||Fish||Underwater video monitoring for interaction between marine animals and turbines. |
The aims are: Enumerating or estimating the relative abundance of fish and/or aquatic species at risk observed; identifying fish and/or aquatic species at risk observed to the lowest possible taxonomic level; describing the behaviour of fish and/or aquatic species at risk observed where possible; noting any collisions between fish and/or aquatic species at risk and a turbine; and Noting any mortality of fish and/or aquatic species at risk likely resulting from turbine operation.
|Detailed review of representative segments of video of operation, including different operational periods and tidal stages.||Very few confirmed fish has been observed in the vicinity of the turbines. Some possible fish observed in the vicinity of the turbines.||Ongoing. Began February 2019.|