The Bay of Fundy, on Canada’s East Coast, has famously strong tides. An incoming tide can pull 160 billion tonnes of seawater into the bay, with a vertical range of over 16 metres, and swift tidal currents. It has the highest recorded tides in the world.
By Kate Lunau | MOTHERBOARD
For a long time, green energy advocates have wanted to harness that powerful tide to produce energy, and now it’s happening.
On Monday, a massive, five-storey-tall turbine was installed on the seafloor, and over the next few days, workers will be hooking it up to the power grid via a subsea cable. It will be the first tidal array in North America connected to an electrical grid like this, and will eventually be able to power 500 houses.
Next year, another turbine will be installed. Together, they’ll produce four megawatts, enough to power 1,000 homes off the strength of the tides.
Tidal energy is a promising source of sustainable electricity, but not everybody’s happy about this project in Nova Scotia. Local fishers were so worried about its impact on marine life that they took the case to court, where they recently lost their bid to halt construction. (The judge said they hadn’t proven the risk of irreparable harm.) A spokesperson for the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association told the CBC he was upset the turbine was deployed smack in the middle of lobster season, when many project opponents are away at sea.