07/01/2016 12:31 EDT | Updated 07/02/2017 01:12 EDT

Fundy turbines face further delays despite environment minister approval

HALIFAX — The plan to install two giant tidal turbines in the Bay of Fundy has been delayed again for final preparations and additional consultation with concerned stakeholders, despite getting the go-ahead from Nova Scotia's environment minister.

In a statement, Sarah Dawson of Cape Sharp Tidal said one of the 1,000-tonne turbines will be hauled by barge to Halifax for ballasting work in the coming days, but there is no timeline for deployment at this time.

"When we are in a better position to confirm the schedule, we will provide an update," Dawson said in an email.  

The turbine's steel subsea base will be ballasted with concrete then tested and inspected for use, she said. Moving the operation to Halifax will make more room at the Pictou shipyard to finish assembling the second turbine.

Dawson said Cape Sharp will continue to engage with local fishers who have voiced strong opposition to the project over concerns that the instream tidal turbines can't be made safe for the ecosystem.

"We've spoken to many fishers over the past weeks and months — and in fact years," she said. "Like everyone who has an interest in the Bay of Fundy, we believe that a number of industries and interests can co-exist responsibly."

Dawson says the delay is unrelated to Environment Minister Margaret Miller's decision to green-light the project on June 20, weeks after halting the project to gather more information about its environmental impact.

"The reason for the pause was to ensure we took additional time to engage those who felt their views had not yet been heard," she said.

Cape Sharp's five-storey-high turbines, destined for the Minas Passage, are expected to generate enough electricity to power 1,000 homes.

The company, a partnership of OpenHydro and Emera, is one of several that plan to test different turbine technology in the Bay of Fundy.