OERA updates Bay of Fundy MRE infrastructure report

Illustration/OpenHydro turbine (Photo: Port of Halifax)

The report on the ports capabilities of Nova Scotia in relation to marine renewable energy (MRE) developments has been revised and brought up to date.

Engineering company Allswater, and consultancies Cruz Atcheson Consulting Engineers, and INNOSEA, assessed the gap between developers needs and ports capabilities to understand the necessary investments and support for tidal energy development in Nova Scotia in the long term.

Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA), Nova Scotia government and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency hired the international team to update the public report commissioned by the NS Department of Energy in 2011 and to shortlist ports that present suitable characteristics for MRE developments.

Ports in Digby, Hantsport, Parrsboro and Saint John were studied for up-to-date information regarding current infrastructure. The European ports, including Hatston Pier, and Nigg Energy Park in Scotland, and ports of Cherbourg, and Brest in France, were also reviewed as a benchmark for comparison with Nova Scotia.

Additionally, West Bay was investigated to determine the feasibility of a ‘greenfield’ development in the area.

The gap analysis of the collected data revealed that the infrastructure requirements have not changed significantly since the original 2011 study, identifying wet ports, offered by Digby and Saint John, as a requirement by the majority of developers for the installation and anticipated operations and maintenance (O&M) activities.

Furthermore, the survey found that Digby‘s proposed port expansion, and the port of Saint John meet the majority of the respondents’ current requirements. However, the new report recommends to defer investment in costly infrastructure improvements and/or greenfield construction until the uncertainties associated with the tidal energy industry are resolved.

The report concluded that if it is later confirmed that an expansion of wet port facilities is required in Nova Scotia, the Port of Digby offers the best opportunity to meet the needs for the industry.

The desired capabilities investigated include heavy lifting or slipway possibilities, assembly infrastructures, storage areas availability, easy access by sea and road or rail, and sufficient wharf dimensions and strength.

OERA is a non-profit organization that funds and facilitates collaborative offshore energy and environmental research and development including examination of renewable energy resources and their interaction with the marine environment.

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