On June 20, 2023, the Honourable Joyce Murray, former Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced the establishment of a Task Force on sustainable tidal energy. The intention is to explore issues and opportunities associated with the deployment of tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy.
The purpose of the Task Force is to:
- build on work to date to clarify requirements for fish protection
- improve transparency and methodology of risk assessment and decision making on tidal turbine deployments
- reduce turnaround time for regulatory decisions for tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy
The Task Force is co-chaired by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Natural Resources Canada. It includes members from the Government of Nova Scotia, industry, and research organizations (see Annex 1). The Task Force facilitates greater collaboration between the federal government, the Province of Nova Scotia, members of the tidal industry and the tidal research community. Members of the Task Force are inviting the views of Indigenous groups. Engagement and consultation, as appropriate, will continue throughout the duration of the Task Force.
The purpose of this report is to provide an overview and update on the Task Force and its work to date.
Through a series of meetings and expert presentations, the Task Force has identified key regulatory issues and challenges raised by industry stakeholders involved in Nova Scotia’s tidal energy industry development including:
- the administration of the Fisheries Act authorization process
- environmental risk assessment and monitoring standards
- consideration of international data and research on environmental impacts
- consideration of climate change and economic benefits in decision making
This report summarizes these issues and challenges and outlines the Task Force’s progress towards addressing these issues as well as future actions to take. The Task Force will produce a second report in December on its work, including progress achieved and areas to be considered for future action. Moreover, the Government of Canada indicated in Budget 2023 that it would: “outline a concrete plan to improve the efficiency of the impact assessment and permitting processes for major projects, which will include clarifying and reducing timelines, mitigating inefficiencies, and improving engagement and partnerships,” by the end of 2023.