UVic ocean-research team dives into tidal technology

ONC, headquartered at the University of Victoria, added the Arctic Ocean to its purview in 2012 with a monitoring station in Nunavut. It is now making waves in the Atlantic Ocean through a collaboration with the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, known as FORCE.

ONC will provide FORCE, a test centre for tidal-energy technology, with its Oceans 2.0 data management system.

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The centre, which has support from the federal and Nova Scotia governments, and the Encana Corporation, is looking at the potential for turbines in the Bay of Fundy, home to the world’s highest tides.

“We’re helping them install equipment for monitoring the tidal-energy site, and then all the data’s being sent back to our facility, where anybody in the world can access it,” said Scott McLean of the ONC Innovation Centre, which looks at commercial applications for ONC technology.

ONC will also monitor the environmental conditions of areas in the Bay of Fundy, said Kate Moran, ONC president and CEO.

“We hope we can actually build on that in the Atlantic and serve more data that would help communities all across the country that are located on water.”

ONC, made up of the NEPTUNE and VENUS subsea cable systems, provides key data for “informed decision-making,” McLean said.

“It can relate to fisheries, marine traffic. [On the] research side of it, they can look at gas hydrates, earthquakes, tsunamis.”

McLean said about $200 million has been spent on ONC, much of it by the federal government. The B.C. government has also provided funding.

“Canada is really ahead of the game internationally. Other countries are certainly looking to develop this kind of technology themselves.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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