The development and expansion of renewable energy can be key to advancing Canada’s climate objectives, and the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy on Canada’s east coast provide an excellent opportunity to source renewable energy. The Bay of Fundy is also home to diverse marine species that are of economic, social and cultural importance to Indigenous and coastal communities, including aquatic species at risk. Therefore, tidal energy projects must be carried out in a way that is consistent with the protection of aquatic species and their habitat.

The Government of Canada is working closely with the province of Nova Scotia, Indigenous communities and industry to support the development of clean technology and energy projects, including tidal projects in the Bay of Fundy. The release of the Tidal Task Force Final Report clarifies regulatory requirements for tidal projects with an aim of defining the path for growth of the tidal industry.

“The Government of Canada recognizes that tidal energy can have an important role to play in our clean energy future and welcomes the Tidal Energy Task Force’s Final Report,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.The Task Force’s recommendations provide a strong path forward to support sustainable tidal energy development in Canada, and we are hitting the ground running to implement them. In so doing, we will ensure that tidal energy is developed and deployed in Canada in a manner that meets Canadians’ environmental and economic ambitions.”

The report stems from the work of the Tidal Energy Task Force, led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada, with members from the Nova Scotia government, industry, and research organizations, and input from Indigenous groups and stakeholders.

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The report has identified four key issues that are critical to the tidal energy sector in the Bay of Fundy:

  • the administration of the Fisheries Act authorization process,
  • environmental risk assessment and monitoring standards,
  • international data and research on environmental impacts, and
  • climate change and economic benefits in decision-making.

As a result of the Task Force, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has revised its staged approach for authorizations for tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy to better account for how these projects are designed and deployed. Under this revised approach, the department will offer a single, conditional Fisheries Act Authorization and Species at Risk Act permit for the full 15-year lifecycle of a tidal energy project. This will provide assurance that, if no adverse effects are observed, additional devices could be deployed as long as continued monitoring shows there are no adverse effects to fish.

In addition and in response to the Task Force’s findings, the Government of Canada announced today an investment of $300,000 from Natural Resources Canada to strengthen risk assessment and monitoring efforts in the Bay of Fundy. To oversee these efforts, the Task Force convened a working group, co-chaired by FORCE and Acadia University. The working group will specifically assess the effectiveness of monitoring technologies in the Minas passage and develop tools, approaches and best practices that will help reduce barriers to environmental effects monitoring and more effectively assess risks in order to strengthen Canada’s emerging tidal stream energy industry in the Bay of Fundy.

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring ecosystems remain healthy for future generations while supporting important economic opportunities for Canadians and coastal communities. The Government of Canada will continue to work with the Government of Nova Scotia, industry, environmental groups and experts to assess and implement findings from the report to provide further clarity and to support the sustainable development of the tidal stream energy sector in the Bay of Fundy.

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“Fisheries and Oceans Canada supports the development of marine renewable energy and recognizes the positive impacts tidal energy may have towards clean energy growth in Canada,” said Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. “I appreciate the important work the Task Force has undertaken to clarify requirements for fish protection; improve transparency of decision-making on tidal turbine deployments; and reduce turnaround time for regulatory decisions for tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy.”

Featured image credit: Nova Scotia Environmental Network


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