Canal Turbine Test Site Moves One Step Closer to Connecting to Grid

BUZZARDS BAY – A test site for tidal wind turbines located in the Cape Cod Canal is almost ready to connect to the grid.

Funding to wire the Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS) to shore to supply power to turbines and devices and to produce power to the grid has been met with approval from Beacon Hill.

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo)says that it has received information that $250,000 has been approved by the Massachusetts Legislature to be included in the Massachusetts Economic Development Bill. Work will begin when the funds are approved and released by Governor Charlie Baker.

The site will be able to test turbines up to 10 feet (3 meters) in diameter, saving developers the cost and need to develop their own testing facilities.

“This was really critical because companies developing new technologies have to be able to prove it to funding agencies or funding people.” MRECo Executive Director John Miller said.

“Being able to plug into the grid is very important for them. This funding would allow us to do this as well as put in the pieces to better connect sensors we have on the platform.”

MRECo is in the process of preparing the Draft Pilot License Application that’s required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to obtain interconnection.

Miller says that the test site is “unique in the world.”

“There are a number of test facilities all around the world, most of them for full-scale testing, and the costs of those facilities are all in excess of $50 million. What we did was we tried to build a test stand that allows people to test smaller devices before they go to full-scale,” he said.

Construction of the site was completed in November 2017 by MRECo near the Buzzards Bay railroad bridge on the mainland side of the canal. The site was built with piles driven 40 feet into the seabed that extend above the water line. A platform was then built to raise and lower turbines for testing in and out of the water.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito has been pushing for renewable energy projects and coastal infrastructure investments through the Seaport Economic Council grant program.

By TIM DUNN, NewsCenter 

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