Canada's Marine Energy Resources
Andrew Cornett from the Canadian Hydraulics Centre of the National Research Council published an inventory of Canada’s marine renewable energy resources in April 2006 (Cornett, A. 2006. Inventory of Canada’s Marine Energy Resources, NRC Report CHC-TR-041).The report quantified and mapped energy resources due to waves and tidal currents.
The report concluded that the annual mean wave power along the 1,000 metre-isobaths off Canada’s Atlantic coast sums to roughly 146,500 MW, or more than double the current electricity demand. The wave energy available in winter is generally four to seven times greater than in summer. It is important to recognize that due to various factors including environmental considerations, losses associated with power conversion, and socio-economic factors, only a fraction of the available wave energy resource can be extracted and converted into useful electric power. Even so, the Canadian resources are considered sufficient to justify further research into their development as an important source of renewable green energy for the future.
According to Dr. Cornett’s report, Canada is also endowed with sizeable tidal current energy resources. Compared to other renewable energy sources such as solar, winds and waves, tidal currents have the distinct advantage of being reliable and highly predictable. A total of 190 sites with potential mean power greater than 1 MW were identified. The total mean potential power at these 190 sites exceeds 42,000 MW. Classified by Province and Territory, Nunavut has by far the largest potential resource, while British Columbia has the most sites with mean power greater than 1 MW. The report identified 21 sites in the Bay of Fundy with a potential tidal current energy greater than 100 MW totaling 2,725 MW of potential energy. It is important to note that, as in the case of wave energy, only a fraction of the available tidal current resource can be converted into useable energy without noticeable impact on tides and tidal flows. The effects of extracting energy from tidal currents and from ocean waves should be assessed carefully on a case-by-case basis.
The report recommended further wave-energy studies for southeastern Newfoundland and the southeastern shore of Cape Breton. The report also recommended further modeling studies in the Bay of Fundy to improve the definition of the tidal current resources available, and to investigate the impact of energy extraction on the tidal flows throughout the region.