Tidal Current Energy Experiment Comes to an End.

September 17, 2011: Clean Current Staff and diving contractors return to Race Rocks to remove the generator for the last time. The generator returns to Vancouver for a final analysis of structural details after exposure in the ocean over the last three years . After cleaning,  it is to be sent to the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, since it was the first ocean tidal generator to be built and deployed in Canada.

“In conclusion: The Tidal Current Generator operation over the past six years has been an interesting experiment and a good demonstration of the potential power from tidal energy.  The added value to the availability of energy for Race Rocks  was however very disappointing.

The mainvalue to the Race Rocks program has been in the infrastructure that has been developed and installed and the potential for further research. The provision now of most of the energy needs by solar power was only made possible by the large bank of storage batteries provided by the project, the island energy building electrical infrastructure and the partnership with the BC Ministry of Mines and energy which were instrumental in providing the initial solar panels.  Installation of further solar panels and upgrades by Lester Pearson College UWC has helped to ensure energy sustainability for Race Rocks.

–Garry Fletcher


Race Rocks Tidal Turbine Generator

Connor Scheu and Wouter Zwart April 2, 2009 . Race Rocks Tidal Turbine GeneratorUWCpearsoncollegeicon


Ed note: Connor communicated with Russ Stothers of Clean Current for his project;

“Here is a simple synopsis of the project I will be doing this week. It is called a group four project (which pertains to the experimental science department here at the college), and the theme for everyones project is resource allocation/sustainability. Every student has to decide upon a project in which they will research something in this area. This usually involves the identification of a question, and then variables, presented in a lab format and accompanied by a presentation, but not overly formal. Continue reading

Tidal Current Energy Demonstration Project: Renewable Energy for Race Rocks

Energy Minister.jpg ENCANA Media Press Conference
Press Release:
ENCANA Partners to enable Pearson College- ENCANA – Clean Current Tidal Power Demonstration Project at Race Rocks Feb 25, 2005
Complete Video Coverage of the Announcement at Pearson College TV and Print Media coverage
of the event
BACKGROUNDER: (Link to PDF version of the pressbackgrounder) (Link to PDF version of the Press release)

Stephen HarperPrime Minister Stephen Harper visits Race Rocks and Pearson College for an “ecoEnergy announcement”. January 19, 2007


Environmental Impact Monitoring of the Tidal Energy Project.
Video on Tidal Turbine Project
Video on the Pearson College, EnCana, Clean Current Tidal Power Demonstration Project at Race Rocks
Cable Laying Aug 2006
Update on Activities at Race Rocks on the Pearson College- ENCANA – Clean Current Tidal Power Demonstration Project and the Integrated Energy Project.
link to Taco Niet
History and Background Information
on the Alternate Energy Project at Race Rocks.
abiotic file
Tidal Currents as an Abiotic Factor In the Race Rocks Ecosystem
J de F currents
Strait of Juan de Fuca currents and tides Link
oldenergy Traditional Energy Generation
By Diesel Oil at Race Rocks .
Environmental Impacts of the Existing Diesel Powered Generator
Solar energy investigation
The Solar Energy Component of the Integrated Energy System at Race Rocks
Davis Weather Instrument
the Environmental Data page with links to weather station and underwater physical factors.
Connor Scheu and Wouter Zwart April 2, 2009 the outputs of energy from the system.
turbineinspect Turbine inspection before removal, Jun,2011

Artists Concept


Environmental protection of the Ecological Reserve with the Installation of the Tidal current Generator at Race Rocks

This file provides information on the process used to ensure environmental protection of the Ecological Reserve with the installation of the tidal current generator at Race Rocks.


This file provides information on the process used to ensure environmental protection of the Ecological Reserve with the installation of the tidal current generator at Race Rocks.



1.Permit Application for Research on the Ecological Reserve 2004

2. Appendix A– Energy at Race Rocks : The problems and Solutions:

3. Environmental Impact of Tidal Current Energy Generation on Marine Mammals: Addendum to Clean Current Permit Application: Garry Fletcher.

4. References on the effects of Tidal Energy Generation on Marine Life:

5. Information for the Race Rocks Advisory Board on Alternate Energy Developments In the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve: 2004.

6.Outline of Expectations for a Baseline Study and Follow-up monitoring of the Current Energy Project at Race Rocks:

7. Video of the type of organisms that grow in the area of the turbine site.

8. Pam and Jason of Archipelago Marine Document life forms along the cable path.

9. Video of impact of Concrete Anchor Placement for the Tidal Energy Project

10. Environmental Monitoring at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve related to the Pearson College-Encana-Clean Current Tidal Power Demonstration Project by Pam Thuringer of Archipelago Marine, 2006.

11. Environmental Impact of the Diesel Energy Power generation System at Race Rocks

12. Preliminary Environmental Screening for: Expansion of generator shed for battery storage

:13. Preliminary Environmental Screening for: Installation of Electrical Cable and Conduits at Race Rocks

14. Preliminary Environmental Screening for: Installation of the Piling for the tidal energy generator:. Continue reading

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve: An Unusual Model of Reserve Management

The following article is also printed complete with hyperlinks to relevant parts of the Race Rocks website at http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/news/2004/racerocksfer.htm.

On October 3 a group of 20 of the Friends of Ecological Reserves made a trip to Race Rocks in the Pearson College Boats with  Garry Fletcher  and Chris Blondeau, who is the  Pearson College Sea-front Coordinator and Operations Manager of Race Rocks.  This fall has been remarkable in the consistently high population of  Northern and California Sea Lions and  high populations of seagulls and Cormorants on the islands, so it was a good time for the visit after the nesting season.

As a result of questions from members on the trip, I thought it may be useful to update everyone who is interested in the events on the reserve with the present state of the management and financing of Race Rocks.  Lester Pearson College assumed the full management of the facilities and staff at Race Rocks in the fall of 1997 . The light and foghorn had been automated, and the Canadian CoastGuard was retiring the lightkeepers, Mike and Carol Slater.  All the facilities except the light tower and foghorn  were returned to BC  Lands.  An agreement was reached whereby the  island  was leased for long term management and continued use for education and research by  Lester Pearson College .  In  2001,  BC Parks was able to expand the Ecological reserve, which had previously omitted the large island with the facilities, to include all the remaining land area of Great Race Island in addition to the original 256 hectares of Islands and water to the 36 meter depth.

The Slaters were hired by Lester Pearson College to stay on as Ecological Reserve Guardians, providing security and  keeping the diesel generator running, thus ensuring that the college could have full use of the other buildings and facilities on the island. In addition, the daily collection of air and sea temperature and salinity data  was continued, maintaining a valuable long term data base. Operating Costs for the first year were met by an anonymous donor from Ontario. Each year after a special effort has been made by the college to secure the operating funds to carry through to keep the island open.   By the year 2000, a proposal was made to the Millennium Partners Fund of Canada, to help fund the installation of internet facilities and microwave to provide a link to the College for the transmission of Broadband  internet.  A number of partners and sponsors who continue to assist are referenced on the website. Each year since, the college has had to seek funding from a number of sources to keep the island going, since government funding for parks is very hard to come by.

One of the higher costs incurred in the operation is the diesel fuel to run the island’s generators. Last year over $20,000  went into this, so it has been an aim for some time to incorporate alternate energy technology in the operation. It is with great relief that I can now tell you that our efforts are paying off as we now have a company, Clean Current Power Inc. securing  the complete funding and installing at Race Rocks in the next year, an underwater tidal current generator which will have negligible negative environmental impacts.  Although a research prototype, this should generate all the required electrical needs for the island. The diesel generators will become backup utilities.

BC Parks has made a good effort to help with some of the facility costs on the island. Keep in mind that most Ecological Reserves do not have dwellings and facilities such as docks and workshops, so they have provided the funds to mitigate the effects of human sewage from the two houses, with the installation of Composting Toilets in 2003.  The Coast guard, although having no direct financial commitment, has provided technical assistance when necessary.  in 2000 an Advisory Board was set up by DFO for the formation of an Official  Marine Protected Area  under the Oceans Act. The Ecological Reserve is still a Marine Protected Area Designate, since final treaty negotiations have put a hold on complete Marine Protected Area Status. This has meant that no federal funds are available for maintaining the Protected Area.

It is a big job securing at least  $80,000 a year to keep the island operational. What is really needed is an endowment,  and this we are determined to seek over the next few years.  Keeping observers and cameras on the island has in the last few years served to keep the many users of the area accountable, so that  the ecological integrity of the resource may be sustained. On the home page of racerocks.com  is written : “we humans are never content just to know that a special area exists on this earth. We strive to be there, to touch, to feel, to consume . But therein lies the paradox. In so doing we can destroy the very thing we love.” The aim of the racerocks.com program has always been to make this special ecosystem available to all through the internet.  We have been fortunate to have this opportunity to establish a window into the daily lives of the creatures of a rugged marine island ecosystem. We just hope that we can continue to make the amazing life of these islands available to all.  This spring with the further assistance of Apple Computer, we upgraded our computers and added a new 340 degree robotic camera which provides a much more thorough survey of many parts of the islands from your own computer.

We are grateful for any assistance in the funding of the program at Race Rocks. One can pay by cheque or credit card to The Race Rocks Operating Fund c/o Lester B. Pearson College,  650 Pearson College Drive.  (250) 391-2411. A tax receipt will be provided for amounts over $25.00.

Garry Fletcher, the volunteer warden for Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is the Educational Director of racerocks.ca . He has recently retired after teaching for 36 years.  The last  28 of those years have been spent in Biology, Environmental Systems and the SCUBA diving program at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific.  Garry now continues with his work on http://racerocks.ca  and serves as a consultant from his home in Metchosin.

Race Rocks Sustainable Energy System Development

Canadian Hydrogen Conference June 17-21, 2001, Victoria, BC.
Taco Niet, G. McLean
Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, University of Victoria
Victoria, B.C., Canada V8W 3P6
Tel: (250) 721-8936 Fax: (250) 721-6323

Race Rocks is a small archipelago located just Southwest of Victoria, British Columbia in the Juan de Fuca Strait. An important Beacon for Coastal Navigation in this busy area is located on Race Rocks, which is also home to a stunning variety of marine mammals and birds. The Race Rocks site has become Canada’s first Marine Protected environment and is now carefully managed by a group of interested partieScreen Shot 2014-02-24 at 7.48.10 PMs including Pearson College and The Canadian Coastguard. The environmental integrity of the site is often jeopardised to bring diesel fuel to the site and the noise pollution on the site due to the diesel generators is significant. IESVic has stepped forward to evaluate the potential of renewable energy sources on-site to power a sustainable energy system. A preliminary study was performed as an innovative graduate course at the University of Victoria that exposed students to sustainable energy system design. Our conclusion is that with Tidal currents of up to 3.7 m/s, average winds of 21.6 km/h and large amounts of solar insolation, there are ample renewable resources available on the site to develop a sustainable integrated energy system capable of providing reliable power for the site. Race Rocks is therefore ideally
suited to become a showcase for renewable energy generation. This paper outlines the results of the feasibility study, discusses the opportunities available at Race Rocks and examines the progress to date. Requirements for the implementation of a sustainable energy system on the site are discussed.
See the full PDF: tacopaper

IESVIC connections

icevicIn March of 2000, Dr. David Scott, (formerly IESVic Director, now Director of Energy Systemics group), Dr. Ged McLean, (IESVic Director) , Dr. Murray MacWhale, ( Assistant Professor) and Mr. Walter Merida, ( former United World College student at the Adriatic College and then a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria) went out to Race Rocks with Garry Fletcher to start a process of idea building on the concept of Alternate Energy Technologies for Race Rocks . After a meeting including a few of the Pearson College students who were staying at Race Rocks while diving over the mid term break, we came away confident that some ideas had been discussed which may lead to a new collaborative arrangement for energy alternatives for the island.
 By May of 2000 Dr. Ged McLean arranged to have three students in Engineering at the University of Victoria do a feasibility study on Alternate Energy for Race Rocks in a class in the summer of 2000. As a result of this preliminary study, Taco Niet decided to take this on as a project for his Master ‘s Program.
racerocksUniversity of Victoria Media Release:
Graduate Student creates a renewable energy plan for Race Rocks.
Article in the Times Colonist referring to Taco’s research Article in THE RING (UVIC) Going with the Flow
tacosVideo of an interview by Garry Fletcher with Taco Niet on Alternate Energy for Race Rocks
Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada V8W 3P6

Taco Niet’s  Thesis Abstract
Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 7.48.10 PMSee also Niet, T, McLean, G. “Race Rocks Sustainable Energy Development”, Paper presented at 11th Canadian Hydrogen Conference, Victoria, BC, June 2001 Proposal by Michael Wheatley to reduce Power Generation Cost and Diesel Fuel Consumption at Race Rocks