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Canada to Boost Support for Renewable Energy

Canada to Boost Support for Renewable EnergyCanada to Boost Support for Renewable Energy

Millions of dollars in subsidies for a Nova Scotia tidal project is just one of the coming announcements, as Ottawa boosts riskier forms of renewable energy, says the federal natural resources minister.

Amarjeet Sohi said on Friday at a G7 energy ministers meeting in Halifax, Canada that a $30-million contribution to a $117-million tidal project to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy tides will be among a series of subsidies given to kickstart innovations in emerging sectors across the country, Cbc.ca reported.

The tidal project is one of the early investments coming out of the federal Liberals' $200-million emerging renewable power program, which finished collecting requests for proposals this spring and expects to select four to six investments by the spring of 2019. The program has received applications ranging from giant offshore wind turbines and concentrated photovoltaic solar power projects to large-scale geothermal energy projects in the West, say officials.

The tidal announcement on the East Coast will be watched closely to see if it can overcome the challenges faced in harnessing the bay's powerful tides, which have already damaged early test turbines.

The project led by Irish-based DP Energy aims to have turbines producing energy into the grid by 2020, producing enough electricity for over 2,500 homes. "This is an investment in the future," said Sohi on the third day of meetings involving environment, oceans and energy ministers, when asked about the security of the $30 million in taxpayer investment.

"This is one announcement and part of many other announcements that we will be making in order to foster that innovation ... to tap the potential that might otherwise go untapped if the government was not there to support it."

Sohi likened the emerging tidal industry to the early days of oil and gas, saying fossil fuels also might never have emerged without the government shouldering some of the risk.

Stephen Thomas, energy campaign coordinator of Halifax's Ecology Action Centre, said in a telephone interview that environmental groups support funding of various offshore renewable projects—with some caution.

"Providing $30 million in support for this tidal project is still a drop in the bucket compared to the subsidies received by the fossil fuel sector, which receives hundreds of millions to billions annually from the federal government, depending on the year," he said.

 

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