As offshore wind begins to take off, many organizations are concerned about the impact on ocean life. Last week, the Nova Scotia Legislature passed the Marine Renewable Energy Act (Bill 110) as a means to ensure that ocean renewable energy has appropriate licensing and environmental protections in place to protect marine life.
Novia Scotia is looking at tidal energy as a clean energy tool and along with technological developments in this sector, companies are also developing offshore wind farms and wave technology. According to WWF-Canada, Nova Scotia has significant tidal energy potential, and the province has plans to develop enough energy using tidal turbines to power a quarter of the province’s homes. The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world, with more water flowing in and out of the bay with each tidal cycle than the output of all the world’s freshwater rivers combined.This productive area provides a home for 22 species of marine mammals, including endangered North Atlantic right whales, more than 130 species of birds, and a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. Properly harnessing these tides could help reduce the province’s dependence on fossil fuels, but development cannot compromise this ecologically rich habitat, says WWF-Canada, which supports coastal economic activities, including fishing, aquaculture and ecotourism.
In response to the approval of Bill 110, David Miller, WWF-Canada President and CEO said, “WWF-Canada strongly supports and commends the province of Nova Scotia for their work to revolutionize their energy grid while protecting ecosystems. The Act not only promotes renewable energy, but it recognizes the need to ensure that renewable energy projects do not have substantial impacts on nature. We applaud the government of Nova Scotia for paying attention to the importance of habitat maintenance and protection.”
WWF is promoting a 100 percent habitat friendly renewable energy future by 2050. This Act is one step towards achieving that goal.