The tidal turbine

The tides come in and the tides go out. To most people, it’s just a lot of water sloshing around. But some see it as a source of energy.

A company called Cape Sharp Tidal is developing underwater turbines that capture energy from the tides in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.

Richard: “The Bay of Fundy happens to have the highest tides in the world. The difference between low and high tide could be up to 50 feet. And so there’s a tremendous resource.”

”‘The Click To Tweet

Director Christian Richard says the turbines use energy from tidal currents to turn the blades. They sit on the ocean floor – underwater – so they do not create an eyesore.

Richard: “That’s one of the advantages with this technology. It’s invisible, and it doesn’t impede any naval traffic.”

Richard says testing is still in the early stages. The team is improving the technology’s cost, efficiency, and corrosion resistance. They also need to show that it won’t harm marine life.

So there’s a long road ahead, but the technology is promising – especially because tides are so predictable.

Richard: “To be able to match it with wind or solar, or even apply batteries to it, it provides quite a unique product in the renewable energy mix.”

The turbine was deployed in November 2016 and retrieved in June 2017. The next deployment is anticipated for mid-2018.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photos: Courtesy of Cape Sharp Tidal.

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...