Nova Scotia puts Ocean-based renewable energy on the agenda

HALIFAX, Dec. 11, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, the Nova Scotia Legislature passed Bill 110, the Marine Renewable Energy Act, in an effort to ensure that marine renewable energy has appropriate licensing and environmental protections in place.

Marine renewables, including offshore wind, wave and tidal technologies, are being developed worldwide. This fledgling sector is creating innovative solutions to generate electricity from the ocean, and Nova Scotia is looking first to tidal energy to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and create jobs in the province.

Nova Scotia has significant tidal energy potential, and the province has plans to develop enough energy using tidal turbines to power a quarter of the province's homes. The Bay of Fundy has some of the highest tides in the world, with more water flowing in and out of the bay with each tidal cycle than the output of all the world's freshwater rivers combined. This productive area provides a home for 22 species of marine mammals, including endangered North Atlantic right whales, more than 130 species of birds, and a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. Properly harnessing these tides could help reduce the province's dependence on fossil fuels, but development cannot compromise this ecologically rich habitat, which supports coastal economic activities, including fishing, aquaculture and ecotourism.

In response to the approval of Bill 110, David Miller, WWF-Canada President and CEO said, "WWF-Canada strongly supports and commends the province of Nova Scotia for their work to revolutionize their energy grid while protecting ecosystems. The Act not only promotes renewable energy, but it recognizes the need to ensure that renewable energy projects do not have substantial impacts on nature. We applaud the government of Nova Scotia for paying attention to the importance of habitat maintenance and protection."

Dr. Bettina Saier, VP Oceans at WWF-Canada said, "Reducing the use of fossil fuels is essential to reducing the extent of climate change, which is the greatest threat to oceans worldwide. Increasing sea levels and storms are changing coastlines; warmer temperatures are causing forced migrations to new habitats, and acidification is weakening corals, sponges, shellfish and the plankton that make up the base of the food chain." 

Climate change is the most significant threat to the future of our ecosystems, species, and the people and communities who rely on them. To address this threat, WWF promotes a 100 per cent habitat friendly renewable energy future by 2050. Today, with this Act, the Government of Nova Scotia has taken a significant step towards enabling that sustainable future by outlining a pathway for development that helps safeguard the ocean and its inhabitants.

World Wildlife Fund Canada: WWF-Canada is part of WWF (World Wildlife Fund), one of the world's largest and most respected conservation organizations. WWF-Canada has close to 50 years of experience implementing science-based knowledge and research into on-the-ground projects. WWF is creating solutions to the most serious conservation challenges facing our planet, helping people and nature thrive. Visit wwf.ca for more information.

SOURCE WWF-Canada

Image with caption: "WWF-Canada (CNW Group/WWF-Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151211_C7186_PHOTO_EN_563153.jpg

For further information: Rebecca Spring, Communications Specialist, WWF-Canada, rspring@wwfcanada.org, +1 647-338-6274

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