The Tidal Current Turbine Energy Project in the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve


  • Erika Lee Brown


There is a predicted potential of 42 000MW stored in tidal energy off the coast of Canada which remains widely untapped by the energy industries.Although there has been significant research and development done in the tidal energy sector, it has been a challenge to develop a cost efficient system which has a minimal environmental impact. In 2006, the first tidal current generator to be built and installed in Canada was deployed north of the Middle Islands in the center of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve off the coast of British Columbia. The current generator prototype was part of a six year joint research venture between Clean Current and the Race Rock project. The project aided to power Race Rocks using a combination of alternative energy technology to minimize the environmental impact of the facilities in the reserve while providing bases for testing of structural materials of the generator. After numerous interruptions in power supply were experienced due to mechanical and electrical problems, the final phase of the project was completed in September 2011. The generator was retrieved from the seabed and transported to Vancouver for structural analysis. The following paper will discuss the parameters of the study, as well as the challenges and problems encountered with the deployment, maintenance and retrieval of the tidal current system. A brief investigation of the outlook of tidal current generator systems as a means of power generation within Canada will also be completed.


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Coastal and Ocean Engineering (ENGI.8751)