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Tidal energy plant in Canada secures help from Japanese firms

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Laszlo Podor | Moment | Getty Images

Two Japanese companies have entered into a joint development agreement with Ireland-based DP Energy to work on the initial stages of a tidal energy project in Canada.

In statements released earlier this week, Chubu Electric Power and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, or “K” Line, said the agreement related to the Uisce Tapa Tidal Energy project. The development is located at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy in the Bay of Fundy, a bay between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Both Chubu Electric Power and “K” Line called it “the first tidal power project that a Japanese company will participate in overseas”.

According to DP Energy, the first phase of Uisce Tapa – Irish for “fast water” – revolves around three 1.5 megawatt turbines. The second aims to increase the capacity of the project to 9 MW.

Uisce Tapa is backed by a 15-year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power Incorporated, which amounts to Canadian dollars 530 (approximately $ 422) per megawatt hour. It also benefits from a grant of approximately $ 30 million Canadian dollars from Natural Resources Canada.

In its announcement on Wednesday, DP Energy described the Bay of Fundy as “home to some of the highest tides in the world”. At the highest surface speed, the tidal currents are “capable of exceeding 10 knots” or 5 meters per second, he added.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the project is being considered for approval by Chubu Electric Power and “K” Line. If everything goes according to plan, the first turbine would go into operation in 2023, followed by two more in 2026.

The news comes the same week that tidal energy company Nova Innovation said it was able to move ahead with a project focused on increasing the production of tidal turbines after receiving funding from the Scottish government.

The £ 2 million ($ 2.77 million) funding increase announced on Thursday will be used to support the Volume Manufacturing and Logistics for Tidal Energy project, also known as VOLT.

According to Nova, VOLT will “develop the first European assembly line for the mass production of tidal turbines” and also “test innovative techniques and tools to ship, deploy and monitor turbines around the world”.

Last week, another company, Orbital Marine Power, announced that its O2 turbine had started producing electricity on-grid at the European Marine Energy Center in Orkney, an archipelago north of mainland Scotland.

The 2 megawatt O2 is known as the “strongest tidal turbine in the world”, weighs 680 tons and is 74 meters long.

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