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TitleOffshore wind technology scan, a review of offshore wind technologies and considerations in the context of Atlantic Canada
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorTang, G; Kilpatrick, R
Source 2021, 70 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceEastern offshore region
Lat/Long WENS -68.0000 -52.0000 52.0000 40.0000
SubjectsScience and Technology; Nature and Environment; offshore areas; Wind; Wind energy; Energy technology; Environmental technology
Illustrationstables; photographs
ProgramEnergy Innovation Program
Released2021 12 23
Offshore wind development offers an opportunity for a significant source of clean energy and has been explored by many countries around the world. In Canada, while interest has been expressed in offshore wind, no projects have been deployed to date. The Canadian Energy Regulator Act, which came into force in 2019, enables the Canada Energy Regulator to review and authorize offshore renewable energy activities, including wind, in Canada's offshore areas. Additional regulatory work and marine spatial planning activities underway support the realistic possibility of future offshore wind in Canadian waters.
The main focus of this report was an assessment of existing offshore wind technologies and a preliminary discussion on their applicability in Atlantic Canada. The report also identifies knowledge gaps where further scientific investigation is required.
The report is divided into five sections, each covering some of the major components of offshore wind technologies. Following the introduction, Sections 2 and 3 explore different turbine foundation types and construction methods, respectively. While fixed-bottom foundations remain dominant, floating wind is increasingly gaining attention across several jurisdictions. Canada's Atlantic offshore has limited areas that are obviously well-suited for fixed-bottom foundations, but further work is required to thoroughly characterize the geology with respect to offshore wind foundation suitability. Floating technologies could conceivably play a role in increasing the range of suitable areas.
Section 4 examines typical operating practices including the deployment of an effective maintenance regime that accounts for accessibility challenges to ensure maximum project availability. Methods for optimizing production through effective meteorological forecasting, avenues for the management of excess power, and meeting increasing load demands are discussed.
Section 5 describes known environmental impacts of offshore wind incurred over all three phases of the project lifecycle: construction, operation and decommissioning. Impacts from the construction phase are generally viewed as being intense, but short-lived, whereas impacts from the operation phase can often be longer-lasting and more complex. Canada has defined many different types of ecologically significant areas and the relevant legislation and administration of ecological protection laws and guidance is discussed, recognizing that further research will be required to characterize and mitigate ecological risk of offshore wind deployment in Canadian waters.
Finally, Section 6 presents an overview of specific conditions in Atlantic Canada relevant to offshore wind. Like many jurisdictions, Atlantic Canada's offshore region has a strong wind resource, with many locations that could be economically viable from a wind resource perspective. The geological conditions are potentially more challenging, as regions with similar geological characteristics to those where offshore wind has been developed in other jurisdictions are limited. Overall, the cold climate, coupled with complex geological and bathymetric conditions in Atlantic Canada result in a unique setting with various challenges for offshore wind, but learning from the industry developments in other jurisdictions, including recent development on the US Atlantic coast, can provide meaningful insight into a future Canadian offshore wind industry.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
While interest has been shown in Canada for offshore wind farm development, no projects have been completed to date. This report provides information and resources in the context of future offshore wind development in Canada. Knowledge gaps that may require further investigation are also identified. At a high level, this report reviews construction methods, existing foundation technologies, operational considerations, potential environmental impacts, Canadian environmental protection measures, and the Canadian physical offshore setting. In general, the meteorological conditions, complex subsea geology, and ecological considerations in Canada result in a unique setting with various challenges for offshore wind, but learning from the industry developments in other jurisdictions provides meaningful insight into potential future developments in Canadian waters.

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