WORKSHOP: Seabed Characterization for High-flow Tidal Sites – Geotechnical technologies, methods, and solutions

In partnership with Nova Scotia Department of Energy, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Cumberland Energy Authority, and Digby Development Agency, Marine Renewables Canada is leading a Marine Renewable Energy Supplier Engagement and Development Initiative to support the development of a supply chain that can service the local and global industry.

As part of this initiative, Marine Renewables Canada held the first of a series of workshops in partnership with the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE)  on May 26th that explore critical project/supply chain opportunities in the development of tidal energy projects. The overall aim of the workshops is to connect local expertise with emerging opportunities in the marine renewable energy sector locally and globally.

The first workshop, held on May 26th, was Seabed Characterization for High-flow Tidal Sites: Geotechnical technologies, methods, and solutions.”

Overview – Seabed characterization and geotechnical challenges

As tidal energy developers advance to deploy devices at their sites in the Bay of Fundy, more information is required to understand seabed composition. However, Fundy presents new challenges to gathering that information as the tidal stream flow speeds can make it difficult to keep station and gather samples. New technologies and approaches may also be needed for seabed drilling/sampling.

Understanding the seabed is a critical component of tidal energy projects and as developers move from the deployment of a single device to multiple devices in arrays, it will only become more essential to the advancement of projects and the industry. 

Workshop Proceedings

The workshop brought together approximately 50 participants representative of the supply chain, tidal energy project developers, government, and NGOs. Over the course of the event, tidal energy developers provided information on current project plans and specific insight on seabed characterization/geotechnical needs.

• Agenda

• Presentations:
– Elisa Obermann, Marine Renewables Canada
– Gordon Fader, Atlantic Marine Geological Consulting Ltd.
– Jack Gallagher, Black Rock Tidal
– Greg Trowse, Fundy Tidal Inc.
– Simon Dickinson, BGC Engineering
– Ken Been, Golder Associates
– Jørn Landva, Fugro GeoSurveys
– Dean Steinke, Dynamic Systems Analysis
– Adrian Woodroffe, Cellula Robotics

Below are the original details of the workshop:

What was covered:

  • The strategy and vision for marine renewable energy development
  • Industry progress to date
  • Overview of tidal energy project requirements (current and future needs; global opportunities)
  • Industry/developer insight on seabed characterization challenges in the Bay of Fundy; identification of project needs and milestones
  • Supply chain expertise and capabilities

Who attended:

  • Businesses and researchers with expertise in the geotechnical/geophysical field
  • Tidal energy project and device developers
  • Businesses and researchers with expertise in other related sectors (ex. ocean technology, marine operations, offshore oil and gas, traditional hydro, etc.)
  • Government and NGOs

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Time: 9am – 2pm
Location: Prince George Hotel, 1725 Market Street, Halifax, NS B3J 3N9


The growing marine renewable energy sector (tidal, wave, and river current energy) presents numerous opportunities for businesses and researchers to apply expertise, transfer technology, develop innovations, and find solutions required by local and global markets. The global potential of this emerging industry is significant, with ~750 GW of worldwide potential resulting in up to $900-$1000 billion in expenditures.

Getting involved in early local projects is a key competitive advantage and a path to accessing global export opportunities. The opportunity for early participation and market entry is most immediate within the advancing tidal energy developments around the Bay of Fundy where world’s leading project and technology developers are working: large-scale projects at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) and community based projects led by Fundy Tidal Inc. Over the next 5 years, 20 MW of tidal energy is expected to be developed in Nova Scotia resulting in approximately $175M in expenditures. The longer-term goal is 300+ MW post-2020, opening up more opportunities for early movers.

These projects will require local suppliers and expertise. Firms who have experience in related areas (e.g. ocean technology, marine operations, traditional hydro, offshore oil and gas, etc.) have capabilities that can and have been already applied to the tidal energy developments in the Bay of Fundy.

Additional Information

For more information about what kind of business opportunities are emerging in the marine renewable energy sector, please view Business Opportunities from Marine Renewable Energy Development and Project Lifecycle Needs (2012)