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Developers lay subsea data cable at tidal energy research center

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Developers of the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) have successfully installed a data cable designed to connect an underwater research platform, marking an important milestone in the tidal energy test site's progression.

A FORCE release said it is the first subsea cable ever installed in the Minas Passage and is part of a US$10 million research project to build the Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platform.

FAST is a recoverable instrument platform designed to monitor and characterize the FORCE site, allowing for continuous, real-time data transmission from the platform to shore.

Installation of the cable marks the culmination of months of planning that involved more than 30 personnel.

Adding to the challenge were the bay's harsh conditions.

"Today proves that we can be successful in the world's highest tides," FORCE director of marine operations Tony Wright said. "The conditions were not optimal. We were working in a blizzard, but with good data, careful planning and the expertise of a diverse, skilled team, we succeeded.

"It's a big day for FORCE. We have a cable in the water."

The team included R.J. MacIsaac Construction, International Telecom and Seaforth Geosurveys.

"The Bay of Fundy is a challenging place to work, so it makes success that much sweeter," FORCE chair John Woods said. "We couldn't have done this without the support of our sponsors and partners."

Experience gained in laying the data cable will be important in planning for the deployment of four subsea power cables in 2014, which will connect the site's tidal turbines to the power grid.

"Nova Scotia is committed to being a tidal energy leader," Energy Minister Andrew Younger said. "We have the resource, the regulatory certainty and the feed-in tariffs to support its growth."

For more marine and hydrokinetics news, visit here.

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