SRM Projects initiated tidal energy investigative license applications back in 2012 for several sites around Vancouver Island because we believed marine renewable energy (also called “ocean energy”) was a promising clean power source.  We invested several years researching the potential for tidal energy  at these sites.  While the energy potential was high, the cost of the technology was costly and for a variety of reasons BC Hydro stopped purchasing power from Independent Power Producers.  There was no viable path forward, so the investigative applications were abandoned.

Please see below for the history of those applications.  Click on the highlighted text for detailed information.  For general information about marine renewable energy, as well as potential environmental effects, please see our Resources page.

South Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows Tidal Energy

The south Discovery Passage investigative area was between the City of Campbell River and the south end of Quadra Island as shown on site map one and site map two.  The Seymour Narrows investigative area was north of the City of Campbell River and Menzies Bay as shown on this site map.

SRM Projects released the following statement of intention with respect to the south Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows tidal energy investigative license applications.

The investigative license applications were accepted by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) on October 11, 2012 and subsequently advertised in the Campbell River Mirror.

Initial consultations with the We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum, Xwemalhkwu and other First Nations groups were initiated in fall 2012.

The City of Campbell River issued a letter of support to SRM Projects on November 14, 2012.  We were honored to have that support and pledged to work to the benefit of all stakeholders in the initiative.

Community information meetings were held on Quadra Island on November 21, 2012 and in Campbell River on November 22, 2012.  Public feedback on the application was accepted by MFLNRO until December 1, 2012.

Subsequently, the applications went into the referral process, undergoing review by First Nations, nearby municipalities and regional districts as well as other regulatory agencies having jurisdiction.

As of July 2013, Transport Canada Navigable Waters Protection Program (NWPP) approved their portion of the investigative license application and a Notification for the proposed investigative activities was submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada without objection.  As of February 2014, MFLNRO completed their final review and awarded SRM Projects an investigative license for the south Discovery Passage site.  We were very pleased with this result and committed to working with local First Nations, communities and authorities having jurisdiction while we proceeded with the investigative activities.

On April 2, 2014, SRM Projects met with representatives from the Wei Wai Kum and We Wai Kai First Nations as well as the Strathcona Regional District to discuss investigative activities planned for the next five years and present a slideshow about tidal energy and the vision for these projects.

During the rest of 2014 and early 2015, SRM Projects retained professionals to complete a variety of assessment work including preliminary hydrodynamic modeling, a marine spatial planning study (consisting of screening level commercial, recreational and cultural/heritage use assessments) and a screening level grid interconnection study.

The results of the hydrodynamic modeling activities proved that there is a massive amount of energy available in south Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows.  The key to harnessing some of this energy, according to the results of the marine spatial planning study, will be to find a project solution that minimizes the disruption of the many established users in this busy area.  In particular, any installed system must minimize conflicts with marine towing operations that frequent the area.

To better understand the potential interactions of marine towing operations with tidal energy conversion devices, SRM Projects spearheaded the launch of a six month research project in late 2015.  The research project was completed and the good news is it looks like the risk of interaction between tow cables and tidal energy conversion devices is low when best towing practices are used.  In addition, it looks like it is feasible to design tidal energy conversion devices to be substantially immune to snagging from tow cables.  For a summary presentation of the study results please click here.

Blackney Passage Tidal Energy (Previously Proposed)

Blackney Passage is one of the main entrances to Johnstone Strait at the north end of Vancouver Island.

The investigative license application was accepted by the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) on October 12, 2012 and subsequently advertised in the North Island Gazette.

Engagement with the ‘Namgis, Tlowitsis, Mamalilikulla and other First Nations groups was also initiated.

Shortly after advertising the application, SRM Projects became aware that Blackney Passage is in an area designated as SARA Critical Habitat for northern resident killer whales.  We received overwhelming public feedback expressing concern for the safety of whales and asking us not to proceed with the application.  During this engagement process, it became clear that almost everyone who expressed concern to us supported clean energy development, but just not in Blackney Passage.  After discussing the issue with conservation spokespeople at Orcalab, SRM Projects decided to withdraw the application and the following joint joint press release was issued.

As a followup, a community information meeting was held in Port McNeill on November 20, 2012 where a generic slideshow about tidal energy was presented.

SRM Projects and Orcalab committed to trading knowledge about clean ocean energy technologies and marine mammals going forward to look for ways we can coexist with nature and avoid negative impacts.  Our goal is simply to earn trust and cultivate support for the renewable energy work we do one small and environmentally responsible step at a time.