Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy


Established in 2009, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) is a non-profit grid-connected in-stream tidal energy test facility in the Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy, intended to allow developers, regulators, scientists and academics to study and demonstrate the performance of in-stream tidal energy turbines and their interactions with the environment. FERN's work supports FORCE by facilitating and coordinating environmental research and monitoring related to tidal power in the Bay of Fundy. The FORCE site consists of four undersea berths, four subsea power cables (installed fall 2014) connecting the turbines to land-based infrastructure, one subsea data cable, an onshore transformer substation, and a shore-based visitor centre.

Current Berth Holders

All four developers are expecting to deploy their devices / arrays in FORCE in 2015/16.

Minas Energy, Marine Current Turbines, and Bluewater Energy Services B.V. - Current proposed design: 2 MW SeaGen F floating tidal current turbine 

Atlantis, Lockheed Martin and Irving Shipbuilding - Current proposed design: 1.5 MW AR-1500 turbine

OpenHydro (a DCNS company) and EMERA - Current proposed design: 4 MW tidal array

Black Rock Tidal Power - Current proposed design: TRITON platform developed by TidalStream, supports 36 lightweight horizontal axis SCHOTTEL STG turbines for the production of 2.5MW

See FORCE website for more information

Subsea Power Cable Installation

The installation of FORCE's $11-million subsea cables in the Minas Passage test site occurred in October-November 2014.

Each of the four subsea cables for the test site has the capacity for 16 megawatts, for a total of up to 64 megawatts. Each 34.5-kilovolt cable is designed to allow adding more tidal devices in the future. With a combined length of 11 kilometres, the total capacity of all four cables will be about 64 devices.

Research and Monitoring Programs

It is part of FORCE’s mandate to create a research facility to identify, characterize, and monitor high flow tidal sites and evaluate and monitor the interaction of tidal turbines with the Bay of Fundy environment. For a summary report of the Research & Monitoring activities conducted at FORCE between 2008-2013, click here.

tl_files/sites/fern/files 2014/FORCE R&M Diagram.gif


Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) Platform & Vectron Project

FORCE is currently developing the FAST project:

  • provide facilities to evaluate, improve and qualify instruments for studying the interaction between tidal turbines and the powerful flows of the Minas Passage in Bay of Fundy
  • to advance understanding of the FORCE site and;
  • to advance environmental sensing and monitoring technology and capability in high flow environments such as the Minas Passage.

The project includes several components:

1. Main FAST Platform - a recoverable seabed mounted platform to permit:

  • Long term synchronized multiple instrument deployments
  • Testing and operation of instruments for science and site characterization at various FORCE sites
  • Comparison of instrument performance
  • Home of the VECTRON

2. Cabled Mini-Lander program for real-time data collection and display                 

3. Vectron Project - the first instrument to provide high-resolution, real time measurements of turbulent water flow at turbine hub height. The Vectron will be able to capture highly accurate measurements of turbulence at a specific height above the seafloor over long periods of time - critical to understanding turbine performance, and vastly improving developers’ odds of successful and efficient operation. This technology will also meet a need for more accurate, site-specific data at high flow sites worldwide.

4. Meteorlogical Station, Tide Gauge and Radar projects


Environmental Effects Monitoring Program (EEMP)

An EEMP was developed to determine the accuracy of the environmental effects predictions, effectiveness of mitigation measures and compliance with conditions of provincial and federal authorizations and permits. An adaptive management approach to the EEMP has been taken to review outcomes and activities continuously and modify techniques to meet monitoring objectives.  An independent Environmental Monitoring Advisory Committee (EMAC), a technical committee with members from academia, fishers, First Nations, government and other recognized scientists, provides advice on the EEMP.

The FORCE EEMP has been operating since September 2009 and the key results from 2009 to January 2011 were summarized in the FORCE 2011 EEMP Report.

A new environmental effects monitoring report is expected in spring 2014; it will cover activities during 2011-2013.

Components include:  

  • Seabirds and waterfowl
  • Distribution and abundance of lobster
  • Fish surveys - abundance, distribution and movements
  • Marine mammals
  • Seabed environment and scour survey
  • Ambient marine noise
  • Physical oceanography


Additional Research

As part of the key objectives governing their operations, FORCE seeks to create a world class facility for tidal energy that supports research and development that will generate knowledge for industry standards and educate and train personnel.

More information on FORCE's environmental research activities can be found on our Natural Sciences and Engineering project pages and the FORCE website

Tide Gauge with Black Rock in Background
Tide Gauge with Black Rock in Background

OpenHydro Open-Centre Turbine Deployment

This project was conducted by the provincial power company Nova Scotia Power Inc. in partnership with the Irish tidal technology developer OpenHydro,

November 2009 - Open-Centre Turbine deployed at FORCE site in Minas Passage

December 2010 - turbine recovered and towed to Cherubini Metal Works in Dartmouth, NS for a forensic engineering analysis. On initial inspection, the turbine structure appeared to be in good condition; however, all 12 blades were missing.