Blue Economy Regulatory Review Submission: Marine Renewable Energy and Environmental Protection

Published April 6, 2023

Canada’s goal, in the words of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, is to “become a global leader in the growing clean economy." In tidal energy, offshore wind, and clean hydrogen production, Canada has the resources, technology, labour force, and infrastructure to achieve that. Marine renewable energy (MRE) can help Canada meet its clean energy targets, contribute to our economy, and reduce reliance on imported energy. 

Thanks in large part to government collaboration – through policy, funding, regulation and other supports – Canada has become a global leader in MRE research and development. With investment from the Government of Canada, the Province of Nova Scotia, and its project and technology developers, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) is Canada’s internationally-recognized standard bearer for MRE research and development. 

The success of this effort has relied on investor confidence that, if they can develop technologies and capabilities that are viable and safe, they can eventually generate revenue to recover their investment. To date, the investment in Canada’s tidal stream energy sector has been significant: over $200 million. Investment in Canada’s offshore wind energy sector is expected to be higher still, reaching billions of dollars - all because of Canada’s enormous clean energy resource potential. In Nova Scotia alone, this includes:

·      2.5 gigawatts (GW) of tidal potential, with a strategic target of 300 megawatts (MW)

·      1,000+ GW of offshore wind energy potential, with a strategic target of 5 GW 

However, due to the lack of a transparent regulatory process, all of this renewable energy and investment, including the FORCE facility, is at risk of being stranded. 

On March 20, 2023, as this submission was being written, Sustainable Marine Energy Canada (SMEC) - a company that achieved an important milestone for Canada with a first-ever grid-connected floating tidal energy platform in Grand Passage, NS – advised Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that it was “withdrawing [their] application, and [would] not be continuing the development of [their] Pempa‘q instream tidal energy Project” at FORCE, citing the lack of a “pathway to deliver [their] project at FORCE, let alone one that aligns with other provincial and federal instruments.”

It would be wrong to believe that SMEC is alone in this concern. 

Read our full submission to the Blue Economy Regulatory Review


Background: Blue Economy Regulatory Review

In 2018 Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) was charged with developing a comprehensive Blue Economy Strategy. After a few rounds of public consultation, the Blue Economy Regulatory Review (BERR) was announced, in partnership with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariate. The BERR invited submissions from all interested parties, and is intended to examine (1) the role of regulation as a driver of ocean innovation; (2) regulatory and administrative barriers to environmentally sustainable growth; and (3) ways to facilitate the development of agile regulations to address concerns of future oriented ocean industries.