Emera Inc. is pulling out of the troubled Cape Sharp Tidal turbine project in the Bay of Fundy.
Nova Scotia Power’s parent company announced its decision in a statement released Monday.
The project – an attempt to harness some of the world’s most powerful tides – had recently connected an experimental two-megawatt turbine to Nova Scotia’s electricity grid.
Emera’s move comes weeks after its project partner, OpenHydro Ltd. of Ireland, filed for liquidation.
The Cape Sharp Tidal project is a joint operation between OpenHydro – which is owned by Paris-based Naval Energies and held an 80 per cent stake in the venture – and Emera, which invested more than $12 million.
“The surprise application by Naval Energies to Ireland’s High Court on July 26th requesting the liquidation of OpenHydro and Naval Energies’ subsequent statement that it will no longer support or invest in tidal turbines left Emera with no practical choice but to withdraw from Cape Sharp Tidal,” the company said.
“We are in the process of examining our rights and obligations under our various commercial agreements with OpenHydro.”
OpenHydro’s bankruptcy was prompted by Naval Energies’ decision to pull funding from its Dublin-based subsidiary.
“Without support from the technology developer, OpenHydro, to operate and maintain the technology and the turbine, we do not believe that there is further value in pursuing this project for our business,” said Emera.
The company said it intends to continue its support for collaboration on various tidal energy technologies in the Bay of Fundy through its involvement in the Halifax-based Ocean Supercluster initiative.
Last week, Nova Scotia’s energy minister said the massive in-stream turbine can’t be allowed to sit at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy for an extended period of time.
Derek Mombourquette said the province was monitoring developments as questions remain about the future of the turbine project.
He said he was waiting to hear about a contingency plan from creditors and the remaining partners.
Mombourquette wouldn’t put a timeline on potential action as regulator of the project, adding that its operating licence is still in place.
The minister also wouldn’t say whether the province would be on the hook for the removal if the creditors aren’t interested in dealing with the turbine.
Cape Sharp’s first turbine was connected to the grid in November 2016, but it was later removed for inspections and servicing in June of last year.
in 2009, an in-stream prototype was torn apart by the bay’s powerful currents, which can move at 18 kilometres per hour.