Within the global tidal energy industry, companies are now undertaking activities related to technology demonstration and demonstration of arrays. In Nova Scotia, at FORCE, demonstration arrays are planned by berth-holders. The costs of developing tidal energy are large and private, while the potential benefits are not only private but societal and environmental as well. Accordingly, provincial and federal governments have a role to play while the costs and risks at this stage are a barrier to progress.
In Scotland and France, where full-scale devices are being deployed and small arrays demonstrated, the funding and financial supports are largely a combination of demonstration grants and price supports through feed-in tariffs or renewables credits. The grants are not only for demonstrations of TEC devices but also of array-enabling technologies. While Nova Scotia’s feed-tariff has been effective in attracting international developers to FORCE berths, for all but the largest companies, a feed-in tariff alone will likely be insufficient support for getting devices and arrays in the Bay of Fundy. A package of capital grants and price supports are needed, as well as continued investments in infrastructure.
Federal agencies and departments needed as partners are ACOA, SDTC, BDC, EDC, Innovation Science Economic Development Canada, and Natural Resources Canada. In Nova Scotia, the Department of Business and Consumer Services, and Nova Scotia Business Inc. have roles to play. These organizations should be engaged early to gain experience in the tidal energy industry and will need to draw on the knowledge of experts in industry, academia, investment and insurance in the design and oversight of project funding.