A global leader in Marine Renewable Energy
With world-class resources, supportive policy, research expertise, and a strong marine and energy supply chain Canada has emerged as one of the global leaders in marine renewable energy development. Canada’s natural advantages, investments, and activities to date have established a strong foundation for future growth.
Abundant marine renewable energy resources
Given Canada’s natural resource assets as well as existing expertise in the marine sector, ocean waves, wind, tides, salinity, temperature differences and river currents can all contribute to Canada’s clean energy bottom line. Canada has an estimated 35,700 megawatts (MW) of tidal energy potential. Adding wave and river, the potential climbs to 340 gigawatts, enough energy to power every home in Canada five times over. Canada is also becoming well known as having one of the best offshore wind resources in the world, particularly in Nova Scotia where the wind speeds rival those found in the North Sea.
Canada has activity happening in marine renewable energy across the country including:
- The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE), which has built onshore and offshore electrical facilities and subsea sensor platforms to support technology demonstration and research. FORCE is host to several tidal stream developers (including domestic and international industry).
In addition to projects at FORCE, there is activity in other areas of the Bay of Fundy. Project demonstration and development includes:
- DP Energy (Uisce Tapa project) – 9 MW under development at FORCE.
- Sustainable Marine – 9 MW at FORCE (Pempa’q Project), first PLAT-I platform launched in January 2021. Installation and operation of 280 kW in Grand Passage, Nova Scotia complete.
- Big Moon Power – 5 MW under Nova Scotia’s demonstration permitting program and 4 MW at FORCE in planning stages.
- Jupiter Hydro – 2 MW in planning phases for Bay of Fundy.
- Nova Innovation – 5 MW under Nova Scotia’s demonstration permitting program and 4 MW at FORCE in planning stages for the Bay of Fundy.
- New East Energy – 800 kW in planning phase for Bay of Fundy
- Small-scale and off-grid, remote community projects – A number of Canadian developers have carried out successful demonstration and deployments in Manitoba and British Columbia.
- Sustainable Oceans Applied Research (SOAR) is a not-for-profit organization working to help establish Digby Neck and Islands as a globally recognized focal point for marine renewable energy and smart-grid innovation – with further application throughout Canadian remote communities, and beyond. As an initial step, SOAR has been working to advance tidal energy projects in Grand Passage and Petit Passage, as a crucial component of sustainable, clean, and secure coastal community power systems.
- The Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Test Centre (CHTTC), a collaboration between Manitoba Hydro and the University of Manitoba and located on the Winnipeg River, has become the global hub for river current energy technology testing. CHTTC provides instruments to perform studies on the impacts of flows on turbines and the impact of turbines on the environment and has completed critical studies on winter operations, array optimization, and integration of river current energy in remote communities to displace diesel generation. Since 2013, CHTTC has carried out over twenty deployments with device developers.
- The University of Victoria’s Institute of Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic) spearheaded R&D resulting in detailed information on the height, frequency and direction of coastal waves to start developing and testing energy converters in the ocean. IESVic has also established the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED), which is aimed at eliminating the uncertainty and risk for “first-of-a-kind” community based marine renewable energy projects.
Engagement of research expertise
Universities and research organizations are becoming increasingly engaged in marine renewable energy. Collaboration and involvement may be most evident in Nova Scotia where strategic research, networks, and research funding have been established to support tidal energy development including:
- Acadia University / Acadia Tidal Energy Institute (Nova Scotia)
- Cape Breton University (Nova Scotia)
- College of the North Atlantic (Newfoundland & Labrador)
- Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia)
- Fundy Energy Research Network – FERN (Nova Scotia)
- Laval University Quebec
- National Research Council Ottawa
- Nova Scotia Community College – NSCC (Nova Scotia)
- Offshore Energy Research Association Nova Scotia
- Saint Mary’s University (Nova Scotia)
- University of Manitoba Manitoba
- University of New Brunswick New Brunswick
- University of Victoria – Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (IESVic)/Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED) (British Columbia)
Enabling strategies and policies
Marine renewable energy is supported through an increasing policy focus on clean energy adoption in Canada. The Government of Canada’s climate action plan “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy” provides tools and programs to further reduce emissions with greater renewable energy production. Additionally, the federal government has established legislation that includes a framework for offshore renewable energy development and has been in the process of establishing regulations.
Provincial policy initiatives have advanced on both the east and west coast. The Government of Nova Scotia continues to administer its licensing system for projects, as well as a permitting program for the demonstration of tidal stream energy technology in additional areas of the Bay of Fundy.
British Columbia is spearheading an effort to establish a roadmap for marine renewable energy development. BC’s Ministry of Energy & Mines and Petroleum Resources has worked with the University of Victoria’s to develop a roadmap that would support a vision for a scientific and technology hub dedicated to advance the level of understanding, innovation, and business of marine-to-wire renewable energy.
A strong tradition in offshore, marine, and energy industries – skills and capabilities
Canada has offshore and energy sectors that can service the world’s marine renewable energy projects. Design, engineering, project development, implementation and operation capabilities already exist in many Canadian companies working with the marine fabrication, shipbuilding, shipping, offshore oil, and ocean technology sectors.