A Setback for Tidal Power  

Posted by Big Gav in , , ,

GreenTech Media reports that a damaged rotor has forced tidal power company OpenHydro to "pull up from the Bay of Fundy" - A Big Setback for Tidal Power.

The prospect of nearly unlimited, renewable energy from the tides suffered a blow this month when OpenHydro announced it would pull its experimental underwater turbine from the Bay of Fundy.

The test in this most extreme tidal environment was seen as a critical opportunity for the industry to prove that harnessing the tides had finally become feasible.

OpenHydro lowered its 400-tonne, six-story turbine onto the seabed last November, choosing the swift flowing Minas Passage near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

Last week, the Irish company said it would yank the turbine out by October after an underwater video discovered two broken blades. The blades are made of a combination of plastic and glass.

The setback underscores how difficult it is to operate in the corrosive, storm-plagued marine environment. The $10 million, 1 MW project had hoped to show a first-of-its-kind tidal plant could be built to supply as much as 25 percent of Nova Scotia electricity.

The Bay of Fundy was selected because it arguably has the highest tides in the world, competing for the honor with the Ungava Bay in Quebec and the Severn estuary in the United Kingdom. Tides can rise 55 feet or more, generating a potential of 1,013 MW of power, 152 MW of which can be harnessed with little environmental impact.

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