September 12, 2012 | last updated September 12, 2012 10:51 am

Cobscook tidal project gets Canadian attention

Canadian officials and companies are keeping a close eye on a project by Ocean Renewable Power Co. in Cobscook Bay as the Maine company's project expects to come onto the grid as the first tidal energy project in the country.

The Chronicle Herald, of Nova Scotia, reported Tuesday that the Cobscook Bay project began producing electricity last week and is in the early stages of being operational.

Ocean Renewable's 180-kilowatt turbine was scheduled for testing in late August and John Ferland, the company's project development vice president, told the paper that the project will officially come on line in a few weeks.

Federal regulators approved a license for the project in February.

Bringing those projects onto the grid, Ferland said, will include negotiations with power companies, including Bangor Hydro Electric Co., Maine Public Service Co., and Central Maine Power Co., according to the Herald.

As that happens, the Nova Scotia company Fundy Tidal, which has a "strategic partnership" with Ocean Renewable, is keeping a close eye on how the Cobscook Bay project pans out.

Ferland told the Herald that Fundy Tidal will likely use a similar turbine design for a project in Nova Scotia's Digby County, where the company expects to begin producing electricity by 2015 or 2016.

Each of the nearly 100-foot turbines has the ability to supply 25 homes with electricity. Ferland told the paper that the company has plans to install two more turbines at that location next year and aims to have a total of 15 to 20 devices in place by the end of 2016, with some at another site in Passamaquoddy Bay, starting in 2014.


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