Sustainable Ocean Energy on Quadra Island BC
Quadra Island, at the north end of Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland, is about to make a name for itself in the field of renewable ocean energy. Campbell River-based Canoe Pass Tidal Energy Corp. has partnered with Focus Environmental and Calgary-based New Energy Corp. to develop a demonstration tidal-current energy project in Canoe Pass, which runs between Quadra and Maud islands near Seymour Narrows.
If the site can ultimately generate 5-7 megawatts of power during peak times – and computer models say it can – it could provide a significant portion of Quadra Island’s power.
Canoe Pass Tidal Energy Corp. is a founding member of Ocean Renewable Energy Group (OREG), a registered not-for-profit Canadian society headquartered in British Columbia. OREG’s goal is to lead the effort to make Canada a leader in providing ocean energy solutions to a world market.
Thor Peterson is a director of Canoe Pass Tidal Energy and president of BC Tidal Corporation. Peterson has an extensive knowledge of tidal waters throughout the east coast of Vancouver Island and the mainland from his water taxi service days in the 50s and 60s and commercial fishing experience in Johnston Strait.
Mr. Peterson says that Quadra Island has been blessed. “I’ve traveled all over the world,” says Mr. Peterson “and Quadra Island’s location provides possibly the best tidal energy in North America. That’s why this project at Canoe Pass holds such potential. This demonstration may very well be instrumental in leading the rest of Canada and the world in the field of sustainable hydropower.”
Exactly what is sustainable hydropower? “Simply put,” Thor Peterson says, “it’s the harnessing and extraction of the natural energy in moving water with minimal impact on the existing natural habitat and marine life.
”Sustainable hydropower has a negligible effect on the environment because it uses environmentally benign equipment and approaches,” he says. “And that’s what we want to do: generate electricity in a clean, green way.
“We’re partnering with New Energy Corporation Inc. (NECI),” Mr. Peterson says, “because we think they have the very best turbine technology for the Canoe Pass application.”
Contacted at his office in Calgary, Clayton Bear, President of New Energy Corporation Inc. explained that NECI’s technology builds on work carried out by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) on a Vertical Axis Hydro Turbine. NECI’s proprietary EnCurrent technology, he says “enables the extraction of electricity from water currents without the need for the dams and barrages traditionally required to generate electricity from water, minimizing impact on the natural habitat. Additionally, the slow movement of the EnCurrent Turbine minimizes potential fish kill in the generation of electricity.”
Based on the design of the Darrieus Wind Turbine, any NECI’s EnCurrent Turbine is able to extract 40% to 45% of the energy in the water moving through it.
One of the unique properties of the Darrieus Turbine design is that it is able to capture the energy from the water irrespective of the direction of the current. This property enables the EnCurrent Turbine to harness the energy contained in both flood and ebb tides.
The Comox-Strathcona Regional District (CSRD) gave tidal power zoning to the Canoe Pass Energy project to install the tidal power generation turbines. In a world where the future often looks increasingly grim this Canoe Pass project is a rare positive news story.
Carol Gray is the editor of Quadra Island’s weekly publication, the Hungry Eye, where this article first appeared: www.hungryeye.biz
For more information: www.oreg.ca and www.newenergycorp.ca