Early in November representatives of the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA) and France Energies Marines (FEM) signed an agreement committing the two organisations to work together on a range of research projects focused on improving technologies and applications for tidal energy in the Bay of Fundy and off the coast of France.
The primary objective of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to support research and development activities in the area of marine renewable energy in areas of common interest to both the OERA and FEM.
As Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director at the Offshore Energy Research Association (OERA), explains, the initial focus is on R&D activities that will contribute to 'a better understanding of marine renewable energy resources, technology systems and their environmental and socio-economic implications.'
"At OERA our mandate is to facilitate research to gain a better understanding of Nova Scotia’s offshore energy resources. Whenever we can collaborate with other jurisdictions it only enhances this process. France has a number of advanced tidal and other marine renewable energy projects in the water, and has developed considerable technical expertise in recent years," he says.
'Understanding the Energy Resource'
According to Marla MacInnis, Media Relations Advisor at the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, a key outcome of the partnership will be to advance technology systems that play an important role in developing and confirming understanding of marine renewable energy development. Ultimately, she predicts that the collaboration will also equip partners with 'a better understanding of the energy resource, technology systems and their potential environmental and socio-economic implications.'
"Collaborative activities facilitated by the MOU, including knowledge exchange, will help reduce risk and stimulate investment. Long-term, this will lead to greater commercial development opportunities, bring the energy closer to market, create jobs, and encourage trade and economic growth for the sector," she says.
Dempsey reveals that the next step for the partnership is to issue a call for proposals for research projects to help gain a clearer understanding of the nature of the marine technology that will be developed - and stresses that he is 'very optimistic' about the potential of the ongoing partnership with France Energies Marine.
"We expect that project outcomes will help reduce investment risk and stimulate growth in the sector and facilitate long-term commercial development opportunities, job creation, trade and economic growth in both jurisdictions," he says.
"In the coming months, both sides will exchange suggested research themes and once they are mutually agreed upon there will be a call for proposals. Results will be shared for the benefit of both countries and all research funded by OERA is made available to the public," he adds.