On a flood tide, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flows into the Bay of Fundy — more than four times the estimated combined flow of all the world’s freshwater rivers during the same 6-hour interval.
The vertical tidal range can be over 16 metres — giving the Bay of Fundy the highest tides in the world. The horizontal range can be as much as 5 kilometres, exposing vast areas of ocean floor.
The tidal currents in the Bay of Fundy are fast, exceeding 10 knots (5 m/s, or 18 km/hr) at peak surface speed.
Early research from the California-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) identified the Bay of Fundy as potentially the best site in North America for tidal power generation, with a world-class resource close to an existing electricity grid. In the Minas Passage alone, EPRI estimated a nearly 300 megawatt potential (equal to enough power for about 100,000 homes).
More recent research by Dr. Richard Karsten at Acadia University suggests there is more than 7,000 megawatts of potential in the Minas Passage, 2,500 megawatts of which can be extracted without significant effect on peak tide height. Models indicate upwards of 50,000 megawatts of energy exists in the entire Bay of Fundy.
The Guinness Book of World Records states the world’s highest average tides are in the Bay of Fundy, where the mean spring range in the Minas Basin is 14.5 metres (47.6 feet). The highest tide on record in the Bay was 21.6 metres (70.9 feet) in 1869.