"Go Big or Go Away?" An Investigation into the Potential for Small-Scale Tidal Energy Development in Canada, and Factors that May Influence its Viability
Recent studies have questioned the validity of the tidal energy industry’s focus on utility-scale devices, and have called for investigation of the potential for small-scale tidal energy development. This thesis provides an early assessment of this potential, in three inter-related parts. First, the question of whether a tidal resource exists that is viable for small-scale extraction is addressed, alongside an assessment of electricity markets where this resource would prove attractive. Second, through financial modeling, an estimate of the upper cost thresholds for small tidal projects to prove viable is developed. Finally, a review of the social and socioeconomic factors that may influence a project’s acceptability in a given community—and thus its chance of success—was conducted. Together, these pieces offer a picture of the contexts in which small-scale tidal energy projects may prove worthwhile, and the hurdles that may stand in the way of developers are highlighted.
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