Company to test tidal power potential
COMMENT: The provincial government continues to accept applications for ocean and river power sites without anything other than a "first-come, first-served" policy guiding it in the appropriateness of sites or proponents.
Orca Power has applications for five tidal energy sites. For maps and a very few more details, click here.
By Grant Warkentin
For years the Orca Tidal Power Corporation has been eyeing the power generation potential of Campbell River’s tides.
Now, the company believes the time is right to do some field research.
Orca Tidal Power Corp. has applied to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands for three investigative use permits to look at the feasibility of tidal power generation around Campbell River. The company has applied for permission to use Crown land sites in three areas: in the water immediately northwest of Surge Narrows Provincial Park; in Discovery Passage immediately south of of McMullen Point; and in the Seymour Narrows south of Browns Bay.
Five years ago the company expressed interest in setting up a tidal power research station – a small barge with instruments measuring tidal flows in the water – in the Dent Rapids, northeast of Sonora Island. At the time, Tony Duggleby, one of the company’s directors, said the company believed the area had huge tidal generation potential.
“We think it’s large, our assumption is that it’s quite, quite large,” he said. “I don’t think it would be economic to go in there for less than 200-300 megawatts, and I think it’s there.”
In comparison, the Island Cogen plant at the Elk Falls mill generates about 240 megawatts using natural gas.
In recent years, several companies have expressed interest in the tidal power potential of the Campbell River area. A 006 report prepared for Natural Resources Canada identifies potential sites around Canada that could be used to generate energy from the tides and the study ranks the Seymour Narrows as the ninth best site in Canada, with the potential to generate 786 megawatts, enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes.
However, the tides are too strong – Glen Darou, director with Clean Current Power Systems, told the Mirror in March 2007 that current and emerging underwater tidal technology would be ripped to pieces or seriously damaged in the strong 6.56 meter-per-second average currents through the narrows.
However, the Discovery Passage is the 14th-best site in Canada according to the study, with the potential to generate 327 megawatts. The currents in the Discovery Passage site have an average velocity of 3.06 metres per second – perfect for the technology with which Darou’s company is experimenting, and which Orca Power is considering.
Clean Current Power Systems has a $7 million pilot project operating at Race Rocks in Victoria and is keeping an eye on the Campbell River area. Closer to home, local businessman Thor Peterson and Chris Knight, chair of the 60-member Ocean Renewable Energy Group, plan to build generators under a bridge or walkway through at Canoe Pass between Quadra and Maud Islands.
Orca Power representatives could not be reached for comment prior to the Mirror’s deadline.
Orca Power recently purchased Orca Tidal Power Corporation. Orca Power was purchased in June by Creation Casinos, which has experience running casinos in Lithuania. Creation Casinos changed its name to Orca Power “to better reflect the new business direction,” according to a company news release.
Duggleby was appointed as the company’s vice-president of new business development.
To view Orca Power’s applications, or make comments, visit www.arfd.bc.ca and use the advanced search to look for file numbers 1413161, 1413162 and 1413163. The deadline for comments is Sept. 18.