SOAR is collaborating with Black Rock Tidal Power (Bedford, NS), Sustainable Marine Energy (Scotland), and Schottel Hydro (Germany) to test the 280 kW PLAT-I tidal power system in Grand Passage. PLAT-I was installed on September 18, 2018. Activities are now focused on commissioning of monitoring systems prior to turbine blade installation in mid-November, to be followed by 90 days of testing (not be connected to the electrical grid). The deployment site in Grand Passage is highly visible (above and below water), and ideal for providing access to the platform to advance research, education, and capacity building.
This deployment of PLAT-I is the first in Canada, following its inaugural and successful demonstration in Connel, Scotland in late 2017 and the first half of 2018. The Grand Passage project is advancing performance testing, environmental monitoring, and stakeholder engagement.
The 280 kW PLAT-I is 32 m (105 ft) long, with a beam (width) of 27 m (89 ft). PLAT-I is a floating platform that pivots on a two-point or four-point mooring (two-point planned for Grand Passage), rotating passively with the natural flow of the tidal currents. The trimaran design of the platform has been designed to provide low resistance and enhanced stability, as well as full accessibility to the turbines. PLAT-I is equipped with four 70 kW SCHOTTEL HYDRO SIT 250 turbines with 6.3 m diameter rotors. The system is rated at 280 kW of electrical power in 2.7 m/s of tidal current - with a corresponding RPM of 65. Swing-up turbine deployment modules allow maintenance to the SITs at the water surface for inspection and maintenance. The electrical power produced by the individual turbines is conditioned in the operating and control enclosure located on board the platform. The deployment in Grand Passage will not be grid connected and all electrical energy generated will be dissipated through a load bank that will produce thermal energy.
Technical objectives include advancing innovations in anchoring and mooring systems, turbine blades, marine operations, and environmental monitoring (marine animals, sound, and physical environment). Socio-economic objectives include investigating and advancing opportunities the tidal industry brings to coastal and indigenous communities, and the associated benefits to residents and business.
The environmental monitoring program intends to deploy and test acoustic and optical sensors and contribute to the development of methods to process and analyze these data, with the technical goals of detecting marine animals near the tidal device and developing effective monitoring systems. This testing will help develop monitoring systems that will be used by BRTP for the future installations, including the FORCE site in the Minas Passage. The program will also aim to increase scientific understanding of marine animal behaviors in the near-field of tidal turbines. The results of the environmental monitoring program will inform stakeholders and provide regulators with more information to evaluate future tidal energy projects in the Bay of Fundy.
Also, with respect to marine animals and other use:
- Turbine operation will occur only during daylight hours, while manned or observed from shore, with sub-sea video on the turbines.
- Training is required for project personnel on marine animal observation and identification.
- Turbines will be shut-down when whales are detected within Grand Passage, based on observation including communication of sightings. Most whales will likely be gone when the turbines are commissioned, but if you see one in Grand Passage, please call us by phone or VHF, and the brakes will be applied.
- Temporary shut-down for start of Lobster Season in late November (LFA 34). The timing and duration of the shut-down is to be determined in discussions with local fishers. Protocols for operation during season also to be established in discussions with local fishermen.
Deployment location in Grand Passage (marked by star and "PLAT-I")
Prior to deployment we held two rounds of public open house meetings in Westport and Freeport. Thanks to all who participated. From our perspective, it was a great exchange of information including community knowledge supplied on topics such as marine animals, navigation, fishing, debris, etc. Additional public meetings will be held during, and following the deployment. We will also be available for informal discussions throughout the project, and are planning some focus group meetings such as with whale tour operators to discuss and implement effective monitoring protocols. Please contact us for more information.