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TitleThe inner shelf geology of Atlantic Canada compared with the North Sea and Atlantic United States: insights for Atlantic Canadian offshore wind energy
AuthorEamer, J B RORCID logo; Shaw, J; King, E; MacKillop, K
SourceContinental Shelf Research vol. 213, 104297, 2020 p. 1-20,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200383
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
ProvinceEastern offshore region; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Quebec
NTS1; 2; 10; 11; 12; 20; 21; 22
AreaSt. George's Bay; Gulf of St. Lawrence; Baie des Chaleurs; Northumberland Strait; Atlantic Ocean; Sable Island Bank; North Sea; Canada; United States of America; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Lat/Long WENS -84.0000 8.0000 60.0000 25.0000
Subjectsmarine geology; surficial geology/geomorphology; sedimentology; stratigraphy; geophysics; engineering geology; Economics and Industry; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; energy resources; electric power; continental margins; continental shelf; glacial history; sea level changes; bathymetry; seafloor topography; bedforms; geophysical surveys; acoustic surveys, marine; seismic surveys, marine; marine sediments; moraines; sands; clays; silts; gravels; stratigraphic analyses; shear strength; Last Glacial Maximum (Lgm); Wind energy; Renewable energy; Infrastructures; glaciomarine submarine moraine complexes; cumulative effects; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary
Illustrationsschematic diagrams; tables; sketch maps; geoscientific sketch maps; 3-D images; stratigraphic cross-sections
ProgramMarine Geoscience for Marine Spatial Planning
Released2020 11 18
AbstractThe Quaternary history of the Atlantic Canadian inner shelf shares some similarities with the North Sea and northern United States of America (US) Atlantic coast, with the influence of large-scale glaciation and subsequent sea level transgression being the main drivers of seafloor morphology, sedimentology, and uppermost stratigraphy. The geology of the inner shelf, generally confined to 100 m water depth for this study, is an important constraint on the development of offshore renewables, in particular wind energy. Offshore wind has seen rapid growth, particularly in Europe and Asia, where the industry has now experienced decades of production. In the US, one small-scale production farm and many hundreds of MW are in the production pipeline. In contrast, offshore wind in Canada, despite onshore installed wind capacity that ranks highly globally, lacks any operating turbines and there are no plans for development in the wind resource-rich Atlantic Canadian region. In this study, the geological constraints on offshore wind in Atlantic Canada are explored. Generally, the available offshore wind resource is high, and thus the main geophysical constraint on the development of offshore wind energy converters is the inner shelf geology. Several sites with available high-resolution geophysical data are selected for in-depth analysis and comparison with production and planned offshore wind farm sites found elsewhere. In general, a lack of sufficiently thick Quaternary sedimentation-necessary for the most common bottom-fixed foundations for wind turbines-will make developing offshore wind in Atlantic Canada challenging when compared with North Sea and US Atlantic Coast locations. A few locations may be suitable geologically, such as Sable Island Bank in Nova Scotia (thick package of sands), Northumberland Strait between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia (shallow firm seabed and sandbanks), Baie des Chaleurs in New Brunswick/Québec (thick, low relief fine sediments), and St. George's Bay, Newfoundland (shallow, postglacially modified moraine).
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Offshore wind energy is forming an increasing share of global electricity generation capacity. To date, a large proportion of installations have been in the North Sea, and several large projects are underway off the United States Atlantic Coast. The geology of the inner continental shelf is an important constraint on the development of offshore renewables, in particular wind energy. This study looks to characterize the inner shelf of Atlantic Canada with a specific focus on foundation conditions - surficial sediments, geomorphology, and subsurface geology - important for emplacement of offshore infrastructure. A comparison of the regional and offshore wind site-specific seabed geologies of the North Sea, United States Atlantic Coast, and Atlantic Canada provides an initial assessment of the potential of Atlantic Canada's inner shelf for hosting offshore wind energy installations.

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