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TitleOffshore wind energy in Atlantic Canada - comparing the inner shelf geology with that of the north sea and United States Atlantic coast
AuthorEamer, J B RORCID logo; Shaw, J; King, E L; MacKillop, K; Kostylev, V
SourceGSA 2020 Connects Online; Geological Society of America, Abstracts With Programs vol. 52, no. 6, 131-9, 2020 p. 1,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200505
PublisherGeological Society of America
MeetingGSA Connects 2020; October 26-30, 2020
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formathtml; pdf
AreaAtlantic Ocean; United States of America; Canada
SubjectsScience and Technology; Nature and Environment; coastal environment; Wind energy; cumulative effects
ProgramMarine Geoscience for Marine Spatial Planning
Released2020 10 28
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 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 is limited to one Pacific project in permitting and 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)
The geology of the inner continental shelf is an important constraint on the development of offshore renewables, in particular wind energy. 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. This study looks to capitalize on published and public data on the geology of existing and planned offshore wind energy installations to compare foundation conditions - surficial sediments, geomorphology, and subsurface geology - with that of the inner shelf of Atlantic Canada. This provides an initial assessment of the geological potential of Atlantic Canada's inner shelf for hosting offshore wind energy installations.

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