Cape Canal RR Bridge;  Location of where the BBTSwill be installed by the end of 2016

Schematic of the BBTS with  
a typical turbine

MRECo Receives Funds to Develop First US Tidal Test Site in the Cape Cod Canal

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) announced today that it received funding from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council to develop a tidal energy test site in the Cape Cod Canal. As a fixed test structure, the Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS) would be the first permanent test stand for tidal energy in the US.

The Seaport Economic Council was established by the Baker Administration to provide funding for projects that will improve the economies of the 78 seaport communities.  BTTS will benefit Bourne by making it a center for tidal energy development and, in particular, increasing business in the Buzzards Bay district, adjacent to the test site.

"This is an important step forward for the hydrokinetic tidal test site in the Cape Cod Canal.  I want to thank the Seaport Economic Council, under the chairmanship of Lt. Governor Polito, for executing the contract with the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England.  Thanks also to the Bourne Board of Selectmen, the Bourne Financial Development Corporation, and the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce for their support.  Now the work begins to permit and construct the project. I am proud to be part of this innovative step forward in responsible, renewable energy research & development," said Representative David T. Vieira (R-East Falmouth).  Further, Vieira noted, "My hope is that this project will help attract industry to Buzzards Bay to use the test site, in turn spurring other economic benefits to the area."

MRECo Executive Director, John Miller, noted that this is an important step for tidal energy in the US. "BTTS will allow anyone seeking to develop tidal devices a place to test inexpensively which will spur development of new technologies for this industry." Miller explained that early demonstrations done for ocean energy devices have used up to 70% of their funding for permitting. "No one wants to put new technology into the ocean without being mindful of environmental impacts and so far the impact of tidal turbines has been minimal," Miller noted, "But BTTS will reduce the time and cost for testing in ocean conditions, while monitoring for unexpected consequences. This will allow the huge intellectual capital located in private industry and within the many educational institutions in New England to have the ability get their devices into the water at a fraction of the cost, accelerating commercialization."

The BTTS is a uniquely suited location for tidal testing. Most devices require 4 knots of water velocity to be effective and BTTS gets up to 7 knots. The water in the canal has relatively low turbulence or wave action, and the site is close enough to shore to allow devices to be installed by crane, again lowering risk and cost. Managed by MRECo, this site will be available to qualified entities. The site will be equipped to provide power monitoring, electrical loads, and a full sensor suite for hydrokinetic and environmental monitoring.

BTTS will be permitted and the test structure will be installed by the end of 2016. BTTS will be a welcome addition to a suite of other facilities in New England that can provide testing infrastructure that will allow developers the opportunity to test their devices in a variety of sizes and flow rates. We hope turbine technology tested here will be scaled up for Edgartown's tidal project in Muskeget Channel," stated John Miller.

Currently, MRECo has an agreement with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) fish testing facility at Turner's Falls to manage tidal testing in flumes that can accommodate turbines of up to 1 meter diameter in water flows of 4 knots. Other sites are under consideration for development.
For more information about this project and about the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative please go to: 

MRECo Intern,
Alexander Stott, standing where the BTTS will be installed later this year.  

MRECo Welcomes URI student to design tidal test site sensor package

The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) welcomes Alexander Stott from Plymouth, MA for an internship during the Spring of 2016. MRECo received funding from the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council to develop a tidal energy test site in the Cape Cod Canal. As a fixed test structure, the Bourne Tidal Test Site (BTTS) would be the first permanent test stand for tidal energy in the US.

This internship was established by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Collaborative to allow university students to get experience in this nascent industry.

Senator Vinny deMacedo, who has been supportive of the Bourne site, stated, "Alexander's work with MRECo is a perfect example of this program's ability to connect talented young people with clean energy companies in order to prepare the next generation of clean energy workers that are vital to our economic future here in Massachusetts."

Mr. Stott will work as a system engineer to define the sensor package to be used at the test site. John Miller, Executive Director of MRECo, explained, "Alex is a graduate student in Ocean Engineering at URI. He has the knowledge and experience with ocean sensors to make a real contribution to MRECo's efforts." As a non-profit, we need to leverage every opportunity we can to make our budgets have as much impact as possible. Internships allow us to employ bright, young engineers to solve real world problems and the interns get valuable experience."

Alex is also excited about the challenge, as he explained, "I am really excited about interning for MRECo and getting the chance to help in the testing facility project. It is very important that we begin putting effort into ocean renewable energy and this project not only gives me hands on experience but an opportunity to help in advancing the field. I have only been on the job for a short time and I already feel invigorated and hopeful for what is in store for my future line of work."

MRECo plans to have the test site installed prior to the end of 2016 to accommodate tidal devices being developed by industry and academia, providing a cost effective option help bring a device closer to commercialization.

John Miller|MRECo | 508.728.5825 |  |