Recent Research, Projects & Activities

Our research focus areas include Sustainable Community Development, Tidal Resource Assessment & Site Characterization, Marine Ecology & Effects Monitoring, Finance and Socio-Economic Impacts of Marine Renewable Energy. We also conduct activities in Education & Outreach to create a better understanding of the costs, benefits, opportunities and risks of tidal energy.



Sustainable Community Development


Nova Scotia Small Tidal Test Centre: Establishing a Business Case

This report was produced on behalf of the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA) to determine whether there is an unserved market need that can be met by a small tidal test centre in Nova Scotia. “Small tidal" which encompasses “small-scale tidal” and “community-scale tidal" is distinct from the commercial, utility-scale developments planned at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) and other areas in the Bay of Fundy.

Community & Business Toolkit for Tidal Energy Development

The Toolkit assists communities and businesses in better understanding the opportunities stemming from tidal energy while encouraging responsible harvesting of tidal energy resources.

Community Engagement Handbook for stakeholders involved with tidal energy development

An addendum to the toolkit, this handbook was produced as a step-by-step guide to community engagement for usage by all stakeholders involved in tidal power development.

Strategic Environmental Assessment Phase II: Bay of Fundy Update, a joint project with AECOM Canada Ltd.

A joint project with AECOM Canada Ltd and ATEI, the SEA was an important update to the initial Bay of Fundy SEA completed in 2008. The update focused on changes to the tidal energy industry, community perspectives, ideas and concerns regarding tidal development in the region , and research/monitoring work undertaken in the Bay of Fundy from 2008-2013. The industry saw two fundamental changes over that time. First a shift from demonstration technologies for individual device sites to advanced technologies seeking sites that can host arrays of turbines for commercial purposes. Second, the industry has evolved large devices to serve utility-scale transmission projects, as well as smaller units suited to community-scale distribution projects.

Indigenous Rights and Marine Energy

This study investigated the implications of marine renewable energy for indigenous and local communities in Canada, Scotland,New Zealand and Australia to reveal a dynamic tension between: an economic development ‘blue growth’ agenda requiring the creation of private rights in the sea; and socio-political drivers which seek to address historic injustices and increase access to natural resources by indigenous and marginalised coastal communities.


Tidal Resource Assessment & Site Characterization


CFI Tidal Energy Research - Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Forecasting Infrastructure for Instream Tidal Energy

This multi-institutional tidal energy research project has received a Canadian Foundation for Innovation award to study two research themes: impacts of the environment on turbines, and impacts of turbines on the environment.

Characterizing Tidal Flows and Turbine Power Production in Petit Passage using Oceanographic and CFD models

The goal of this project was to identify potential turbine deployment locations in Petit Passage NS, using CFD and oceanographic (FVCOM) computer models. To achieve this, the research team validated the computer models against previously collected ADCP data in the Passage.  Several turbine placement configurations were considered within the channel (side by side, offset, and upstream/downstream) in order to calculate and assess how each configuration influenced power generation potential

EcoEII - Reducing the Cost of In-stream Tidal Energy Generation through Comprehensive Hydrodynamic Site Assessment

The project’s goal is to reduce the cost of tidal energy by detailed deployment site assessment that allows the tidal turbines to be optimized for the local hydrodynamic conditions. The project is assessing sites in the three Digby Neck passages, and will deploy turbines in 2015.

Nova Scotia Tidal Energy Atlas

We have developed an interactive web map to make tidal energy related spatial information readily available to the public.

Tidal Energy Resource Assessment Map for Nova Scotia

The power that can be extracted from the flow through a passage and the reduction in flow through the passage was predicted with the use of numerical simulations and theoretical calculations.

Development of a link between Oceangraphic computer models and Computational Fluid Dynamic models

Cross Coupling between Device Level CFD and Oceanographic Models Applied to Multiple TISECs in Minas Passage.


Marine Ecology & Effects Monitoring


Researching Tidal Energy - Marine Life: The Nova Scotia Experience

This report lists the key research projects and offers a high level assessment of the environmental studies and regulatory initiatives that have contributed to the development of the sector over recent years.

Application of (low cost) drifters with suspended hydrophone arrays to assess harbor porpoise use of the water column and spatial overlap with MRE devices in the Minas Passage

The project goal is to assess the activity and depth distribution of harbour porpoises utilizing the Minas Passage and Minas Channel, using new low-cost drifter technology.

Report coming soon.

Investigation of Temporal Patterns in Fish Presence and Abundance at Intertidal Weirs in Minas Passage and Minas Basin

Report coming soon.

Assessing Marine Mammal Presence in and Near the FORCE Lease Area During Winter and Early Spring

The purpose of this study is to close the winter/spring baseline data gap via deployments of multiple, calibrated C-PODs and an icListenHF hydrophone,in the FORCE Lease Area.

3-D Acoustic Tracking of Fish, Sediment-Laden Ice, and Large Wood Debris in the Minas Passage of the Bay of Fundy

Dr. Stokesbury and Dr. Redden, in collaboration with the Ocean Tracking Network and a broad team of researchers and consultants, used VEMCO animal tracking technology to complete in-situ testing of the path, depth and velocity of fish and objects passing through the Minas Passage.

Acoustic Tracking of Fish Movements in the Minas Passage and FORCE Demonstration Area: Pre-Turbine Baseline Studies (2011-2013)

To address the potential risk of environmental effects on fish that utilize the FORCE test area as a migratory route and for other movements (e.g. foraging),a multi-year tracking study was conducted to assess the movements of four species of concern-Atlantic sturgeon (regionally threatened), Atlantic salmon (smolts; endangered inner Bay of Fundy population), American eel (silver stage; threatened) and striped bass (endangered Bay of Fundy population)

Passive Acoustic Monitoring of Cetacean Activity Patterns and Movements in Minas Passage: Pre-Turbine Baseline Conditions(2011-2012)

This Final Report describes work undertaken in 2011 and 2012, during which seven C-PODs were deployed to expand the spatial and temporal coverage of the pilot baseline study.

Framework for environmental risk assessment and decision-making for tidal energy development in Canada

This report outlines a science-based environmental risk assessment and decision-making framework for the developing in-stream tidal energy industry It lays out a set of practical criteria and related risk indictors for consideration when planning and reviewing projects. This guidance document offers an approach that would help facilitate a consistent, objective and efficient environmental review, regulatory and follow-up process for the tidal energy industry in Canada. This framework lays out a set of practical criteria and related risk indictors that developers and regulators should consider when planning and reviewing projects.




Funding and Financial Supports for Tidal Energy Development in Nova Scotia

To help ensure Nova Scotia and Canada will benefit from a sustainable marine renewable energy industry over the longer term, a study has been commissioned by the Department of Energy through OERA to identify the suite of applicable funding and financial support mechanisms used in different jurisdictions around the world, recommend a combination that may be suitable for the Nova Scotia context, and present the local entities that could administer such funding and financial supports for local tidal energy development. 

The Value of Delay and Implications for Government Policy in Marine Renewable Energy Development

When uncertainty is high, it is sometimes better to delay a project until more is known. The option to delay has value for a company and can be estimated using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. If the value of delay is greater than the value of investing now, it makes economic sense to wait. This study can guide policy makers in the design of support mechanisms that encourage development. A presentation for the  International network for Social Studies of Marine Energy (ISSMER) Online Seminar Series.

The Value of Delay in Tidal Energy Development

Despite robust research, prototype development and demonstration of in-stream tidal energy devices, progress to the commercialization stage has been slow. Some of this can be attributed to a lack readiness or financing. This article in the Energy Policy Journal applies the real option valuation model to an investment in a 10 MW array of in-stream tidal energy conversion devices at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Value Proposition for Tidal Energy Development

This Study describes the potential opportunity that could result in developing a tidal energy industry in Canada. More specifically, the value proposition examines the economic potential that could be realized over a 25 year period to 2040 and how that financial valuation changes under different factors and drivers.


Socio-Economic Impacts of Marine Renewable Energy


Establishing an agenda for social studies research in Marine Renewable Energy (MRE)

In September 2012, an international group of social scientists with interests in MRE attended a workshop in Orkney Scotland aimed at developing a research agenda for social studies in marine renewable energy. Several ATEI members were among the 25 invited delegates. Based on the findings of the workshop, a paper was published in Energy Policy identifying key topics for future research and an agenda for social studies research linked to MRE.

Scoping Study on Socio-Economic Impacts of Tidal Energy Development in Nova Scotia: A Research Synthesis & Priorities for Future Action

This study highlights many of the socio-economic issues related to TISEC development and discusses best practices, case studies and tools that have been developed to facilitate positive socio-economic benefits and community development. The report provides an overview of research, and best practices developed in Canada and abroad in relation to TISEC developments and other renewable energy technologies.


Education & Outreach


Tidal Energy School Outreach

Love of science and the environment begins at a young age. Exposing youth to the excitement of an emerging industry sets the stage for a solid foundation for which to build the tidal energy industry and support our local economy. ATEI members are developing and giving presentations to local middle and high school students to encourage STEM careers and provide insight into current tidal energy development in Nova Scotia.

Tidal energy stakeholder workshops / forums and educational programs

ATEI members have taught tidal energy courses to local and international audiences and have been involved in organizing and hosting several tidal energy related workshops and forums.