Canada moves to harness sea power

Louise Smyth

Canadians will benefit from an investment of more than $2.4 million at the University of Victoria (UVic) to develop alternative, clean energy.

Jonathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced the funding at the University of Victoria on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

MP Wilkinson announced $1.4 million from WD to establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED) at the University of Victoria. The institute, led by mechanical engineer Dr Brad Buckham, will help develop and commercialise marine renewable energy technologies (MRE).

Marine renewable energy is generated by moving water like tides, waves and river currents. British Columbia is home to abundant coastlines, rivers and a cluster of MRE developers. PRIMED will bring together the skills, tools and knowledge of companies, academics and coastal remote communities interested in MRE projects to provide solutions to the challenges facing the industry and to commercialise MRE technologies.

Investing in clean energy technology has the potential to change the way many Canadians consume energy.  Many remote, off-grid communities in British Columbia, including Indigenous communities, rely on diesel fuel for power generation. This method is expensive and poses threats to the environment. Developing a strong clean technology industry, with investments in MRE, will help support the adoption of alternative technologies and create well-paying, middle class jobs for Canadians.

UVic will also benefit from an investment of $1 million by the Dennis & Phyllis Washington Foundation in conjunction with Seaspan Shipyards. The investment will support innovative teaching and hybrid electric technology research, led by Dr. Zuomin Dong in mechanical engineering, for cleaner and more environmentally friendly transportation solutions.

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