Tidal Website Announced At Acadia For Bay Of Fundy
July 06th, 2015
Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced $65,000 in federal funding for the project, while the province and the Offshore Energy Research Association are each providing $20,000. The Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) is adding $10,000.
The project will help map the Bay of Fundy for use by companies looking to harness tidal power in the bay, said to Tony Wright, general manager of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE).
A beta version of the technology was successfully tested, and now funding has been provided for the expanded version.
Wright said the technology will map data about important issues such as proximity to the power grid, known fish habitat and fishing grounds, currents and the geography of the ocean floor, and make it accessible.
“The funding will go toward creating the software to combine all these data sets,” he said.
“Some are current measurements, some of them are modelling results, some of them have multi-beam imagery and side-scan sonar data, so treating those data sets to get them into one useful package is what the guys are working on.”
He said awareness of factors like fish behaviour is important to understanding the potential impacts of underwater turbines on underwater species.
“It’s about finding the next viable site outside the FORCE region,” he said. “You want to know everything you can about that site before deciding on its potential…Without that data, there is no development.”
MacKay said tidal power could bring 22,000 high tech jobs to the province and “Acadia is very much part of that.”
Kings South MLA Keith Irving said there is “enormous energy potential at our door step. We have to do this right.”
Irving emphasized the importance of quality baseline information, as well as the need to have the community behind any initiative.
The GIS project is a partnership between FORCE, the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute and Tekmap Consulting.
Acadia president Ray Ivany said the effort will result in an incredible intellectual property that will aid in sustainable development.
Institute director Anna Redden believes that bringing all the information together into a database and being able to call up all or certain aspects to create maps will be beneficial.
Community members will be able go online and use the platform to quickly map hotspots for tidal energy, she said.
She said about 50 per cent of the data has been inputted so far, but the amount is substantial.
Most of the data so far is on the Minas Passage in the Bay of Fundy, but data will be collected from all around the province.
The new platform will likely be finished by April.