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Nova Scotia and British Columbia partner on tidal energy development

Technicians prepare to deploy the first commercial in-stream tidal turbine in the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro, N.S. on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. Nova Scotia and British Columbia have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow them to co-operate in the development of tidal power.

ANDREW VAUGHAN/The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia and British Columbia are partnering to develop tidal energy on Canada's Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

A memorandum of understanding, signed by representatives from both provinces Tuesday at the Energy and Mines Ministers' Conference in Halifax, says the provinces will share research and technology related to tidal energy.

The agreement says a council of senior government officials will be formed to bring together public- and private-sector stakeholders to move forward with the memorandum and to ensure there is consistent regulatory framework across Canada.

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It also says the two provinces will share best practices in regulations and permitting.

A news release from the Nova Scotia government says the memorandum represents a commitment from both provinces to further develop the tidal resources in the Bay of Fundy and wave-generated energy on British Columbia's west coast.

"The work that we have been doing with tidal power is something that we expect is going to be of interest to jurisdictions all over the world," said Nova Scotia Energy Minister Michel Samson said at the meeting's closing press conference.

"Singing the MOU with British Columbia gives us the opportunity to share information collection... so that we can learn from each other."

B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said his province stands to learn a lot from Nova Scotia.

"(Nova Scotia) has probably the best tidal energy resources in the country," said Bennett at the press conference. "We've got some pretty good ones in B.C. as well, but Nova Scotia is ahead of British Columbia in terms of developing those resources."

On Monday, it was announced that $1.43 million in research grants were given to groups in Nova Scotia, B.C. and the United Kingdom, who will work together to better understand the effect tidal technology has on the marine environment and vice versa.

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Two projects were selected for funding through a partnership between the Offshore Energy Research Association, a Nova Scotia based not-for-profit research group, and Innovate UK, a government-funded business and innovation organization.

The Offshore Energy Research Association is contributing $500,000, while Innovate UK is contributing $331,000 and the remainder will be provided by federal government agencies and private industries in both Canada and the United Kingdom.

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