Government Invests in Canada's Tidal Power Industry 

News release

September 9, 2020                                           Halifax, Nova Scotia                      Natural Resources Canada       

The Government of Canada is committed to building a clean energy future to strengthen the economy, create good jobs and support the natural resource sectors. This commitment will be more important than ever as we reopen the economy and plan our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on behalf of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, accompanied by Lenore Zann, Member of Parliament for Cumberland–Colchester, today announced a $9.4-million investment in four tidal energy projects that will bring clean energy technologies to the Atlantic region and help Canada build a cleaner future.

Tidal energy is a renewable energy generated by ocean tides and currents. It has the potential to significantly reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve local air quality by displacing electricity generated from fossil fuels.

The announcement took place following a tour of the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy’s facilities in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The investments are:

  • $4 million to Nova Innovation to build a tidal turbine array using sub-sea tidal technology in Petit Passage in the Bay of Fundy.
  • $1.58 million to the University of Manitoba, in partnership with SOAR – Sustainable Oceans Applied Research, to advance research on river hydrokinetic and in-stream tidal energy technologies in the Canadian context.
  • $2 million to Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia to research an environmental effects monitoring solution for the instream tidal energy industry in Canada, including fish and marine mammal interactions with tidal devices.
  • $2 million to Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy to outline a plan to assess the encounter risk for fish with tidal devices and create a tool to support the regulatory authorization process for tidal energy projects. The tidal energy risk assessment program involves participation from multiple partners, including Acadia University, Marine Renewables Canada, Mi’kmaw Conservation Group, Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie University and Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy.

The first project was funded through Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Energy Innovation Program, which provides support to projects reducing emissions, including GHGs, through research, development and demonstration of clean energy technologies, with the aim of meeting 2050 clean growth targets.

The second project was funded through NRCan’s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a $155-million investment fund that helps natural resource sectors and innovators come together to accelerate the development of clean technologies that reduce the impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.

The Clean Growth Program also provided support to the University of Manitoba for the capacity to collaborate with CanmetENERGY Ottawa on the optimization of river turbine arrays through numerical analysis and the identification of potential hydrokinetic resources in northern Canada through the use of radar satellite image processing. This investment was made through the Program’s Science and Technology Assistance for Cleantech (STAC) initiative, which provides federal laboratory support for innovators, intended to help bring Canadian clean technologies to market by providing federal research expertise, facilities and equipment.

Funding for the remaining projects comes from NRCan’s Emerging Renewables Power Program, a $200-million program from Budget 2017 and part of Canada’s $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan for public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes and Canada’s rural and northern communities.

The government remains committed to building a clean energy future and to supporting our natural resource sectors through this tough economic time.


“Investing in new kinds of energy production, like tidal energy, creates jobs in Nova Scotia and across Canada. Investing in tidal energy helps get us to zero emissions by 2050.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“With the longest coastline in the world, Canada should be a global leader in tidal energy. This renewable energy source has the potential to substantially grow our blue economy in the long term, but we need to invest now. There are brilliant teams across this country who are working toward this vision, and our government wants to be a partner in their efforts. So today, we’re proud to invest in four innovative projects that share a single goal: to build a thriving tidal power industry across Canada.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan
Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

“We are building a stronger, greener, and more inclusive future by harnessing the power of Mother Nature’s tides and river currents to provide clean, green electricity for Canada’s communities and businesses for generations to come.”

Lenore Zann
Member of Parliament for Cumberland–Colchester 

“The investments we’re announcing with the federal government today will help propel the tidal energy industry forward in Nova Scotia while shaping a cleaner energy future for all of us. We are building on some significant milestones we’ve achieved that further position us as a centre of excellence in the tidal industry. It shows how far we’ve come in our combined efforts to figure out how to harness some of the most powerful tides in the world while growing a green economy.”

Derek Mombourquette
Nova Scotia Minister of Energy and Mines

“Canada’s investment reflects the growing confidence worldwide in our technology and our ability to operate it in extremely challenging environments. It will be a huge step forward for tidal energy in Nova Scotia and Canada. Support from NRCan gives it added momentum in a time when the world is working to recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nova Innovation involves local companies in our tidal energy projects as part of our business model. This is the approach we have taken in Shetland, and this is the approach we will take in Nova Scotia. We’re confident we’ll be key to making tidal energy an invaluable resource for Nova Scotians.”

Kim MacNeil,
Head of North American Business Development, Nova Innovation

“Through NRCan’s Clean Growth funding program, the University of Manitoba’s Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Testing Center (CHTTC) is assisting hydrokinetic turbine developers and conducting research to develop a new renewable energy technology to power community micro-grids. As a pre-requisite to ending diesel dependency in First Nations and remote communities, developing baseload generation technologies is a critical requirement. This hydrokinetic turbine research program will assist communities to become sustainable by living fossil-free and creating long-term employment. The CHTTC is please to work with partners that include Waterotor, Bridge Gap Renewables, Turtle Island Innovations, the CanmetENERGY research centre and SOAR to advance community-scale marine energy throughout Canada.”

Dr. Eric Bibeau
Renewable Energy Professor, University of Manitoba

“Funding support from OERA and NRCan’s ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative program helped Acadia University, Dalhousie University, Fundy Tidal Inc., the University of New Brunswick and Dynamic Systems Analysis bring vision to reality in charting the course to Grand Passage and Petit Passage as a global focal point for community-scale tidal energy developments. We have community and government support backed by a world-class resource, site information and the required collaborations across industry, research organizations and supply chain. The projects announced today are key to next steps in our local waters and establishing a pathway to success up the Bay of Fundy at FORCE and in remote diesel-reliant communities throughout Canada.” 

Greg Trowse,
Director of SOAR and resident of Freeport, Nova Scotia

“This funding is supporting essential research that will ensure it’s possible to effectively track and report fish and marine mammal interactions with energy devices in high-flow marine environments. Our work will help to advance the in-stream tidal energy industry by identifying reliable environmental monitoring solutions.”

Alisdair McLean,
Executive Director, OERA (Offshore Energy Research Association)

“Tidal energy holds enormous potential to reduce emissions and meet climate change targets. To explore that potential responsibly, we need an accurate assessment of the potential risks tidal devices may pose to marine life, particularly fish. NRCan’s investment supports the creation of a world-leading tool to assess the risk of fish interaction — using both biological and physical site data — before a tidal device even goes in the water. That’s how we get this right.”

Tony Wright
General Manager, Fundy Ocean Research Centre 

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