Tidal Test Site in Cape Cod Canal Wins Approval

BOURNE – A tidal test site, with the mission of assessing hydro-energy technology, will soon be installed in the Cape Cod Canal.

The project has received final regulatory approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and installation is expected to take place next month.

The test site is a project by the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative and involves the testing of energy collecting turbines, up to 3 meters in diameter.

“What it is, is really a first in the nation and in many ways the first in the world test stand that you can put tidal turbines on to test them in fast-moving waters,” explained John Miller, Executive Director of MRECo

Water velocity in the canal has been measured at over four knots in either direction, making it the ideal location for such testing, and the turbines are expected to have a maximum output of 100 kilowatts.

“The industry today to try to generate electricity from tidal energy is based upon the velocity of the water,” said Miller, “So you need to two meters per second, or four knots of velocity, to make the devices work and the site by the railroad bridge has that.”

The project has come under review from a number of local, state, and federal regulators and has been granted an initial year-long permit to operate. It will be located on the mainland side, near the railroad bridge, well outside the commercial channel.

In their approval, the Army Corps said that environmental impacts associated with the project will be minimal and included provisions to halt aspects of the project in the event an endangered North Atlantic right whale makes its way into the canal.

The site itself will consist of a steel test structure with two pilings joined together by a bridge which can be raised and lowered and will have the test turbine fixed to it.

MRECo officials have put out a call to individuals, organizations and institutions interested in utilizing the site to test their own turbine technology.

By DAVID BEATTY, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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