Haida Gwaii Prepares for Tidal Power Technology

Haida Gwaii Prepares for Tidal Power Technology

August 25, 2016

A Haida Gwaii company has developed a technology that may one day provide power to parts of Haida Gwaii, BC by harnessing the energy from tides, reports the CBC.

Clyde Greenough, Business Manager of Yourbrook Energy, told the CBC his company has developed a generator that is powered solely by the ocean’s tide. Field testing of a prototype in Juskatla Narrows will last three months. Following successful tests, the company aims to build a full-scale demonstration of the technology.

The technology — a pump storage system — harnesses the tide to turn the blades of a pump that then pressurizes the water and sends it up an incline. “We pump high pressure water up a hill to a reservoir and to simplify things it comes back down the hill and into a turbine like a standard hydro project,” Greenough said.

Three colleagues, all from Haida Gwaii, designed the generator. The goal is to eliminate the region’s reliance on diesel altogether and help the environment.

Haida Gwaii is not connected to BC Hydro’s electric grid, but the Crown corporation is responsible for providing power to the region through diesel generating systems. The northern half of Haida Gwaii uses diesel to provide power to all homes and buildings. It’s expensive and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. A private hydroelectric plant provides power to the southern region.

The community has been searching for alternative ways to power the archipelago, considering ideas like wind farms and wood waste. Haida Nation members rejected the wind farm proposal over environmental concerns in 2011. The Yourbrook Energy project has been funded in part by the National Research Council of Canada.

Photo source: Yourbrook Energy Systems Ltd.

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