Tidal Power Delayed for Whale

A young humpback whale decided to explore the Annaoplis River off of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, and its visit has done more than attract the press. The Annapolis Tidal Generating Station has temporarily shut down operations until the whale decides to leave, or finishes feasting on the mackerel in the river, which ever comes first.

Annapolis, Nova Scotia – August 26, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Officials from the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Oceans advised the station to shut down so the river would stay calm for the whale. If the turbines were to go on they could frighten the very large marine mammal, and that could cause a much bigger problem. A frightened whale could swim into a shallow part of the river and beach itself. While the whale has its run of the river, residents of Annapolis aren’t in any risk of losing power because of suspended operations, Nova Scotia Power (NSP) Public Relations contact Margaret Murphy said. The station usually runs the straflo turbines for about five hours a day when the tide is going out, she said, and has a capacity to produce 20 MW of power. Annapolis’ power needs are easily met through the other power generation plants owned by NSP, and the tidal station is used as a reserve power source. “At this time of the year we, in fact, normally have excess power and sell the power over the grid in New England,” Murphy said. Many people know of the Nova Scotia station because it is one of three tidal generators in the world. When the whale decided to test the river waters, people from around the world started calling because the station was shut down, not because it was running. Manager of the station’s visitor center Emily Boucher said she had talked to a reporter from the BBC earlier. Business at the center hasn’t slowed down because of the marine visitor. “We wouldn’t mind if he stayed here a little while because it’s so much fun,” Boucher said.

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