A photo of the tidal turbine.
Photo: Cape Sharpe Tidal

After a month of turmoil, regulatory uncertainty, and inertia, it appears steps are being taken to monitor the environmental impact in the immediate zone around an abandoned tidal turbine at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro.

The five-storey high machine is owned and operated by Cape Sharp Tidal, a joint venture between Emera and OpenHydro of Ireland. OpenHydro was declared insolvent July 26 when its French parent company Naval Energies pulled the plug. Naval Energies is owed close to $200 million.

Emera spokesperson Stacey Pineau says the liquidator appointed by the Irish High Court, Grant Thornton, has allocated money to pay for fish studies and the deployment of an underwater platform equipped with sonar and equipment for measuring currents within a 100-meter vicinity of the turbine.

Sending down the FAST platform (Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology) to monitor the spinning turbine’s environmental impact on marine life is a condition of approvals granted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to undertake a field test at the demonstration site in the Minas Passage.

The turbine is not producing power and there’s been no monitoring of fish or marine mammals for the past month.

It could take several days to a week to deploy the platform: the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy has been hired by Cape Sharp to deliver the unmanned platform to carry out the monitoring while a court decides the future of the $33-million turbine. Emera is withdrawing from the project.

A smiling white woman with short silver hair wearing dark rimmed glasses and a bright blue blazer.

Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

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