Atlantic Canada’s offshore wind energy sector gets boost from new Ocean Supercluster project

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster has announced $3.4 million for a new project. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

A new $3.4-million project aims to help boost the Atlantic Canadian offshore wind energy sector’s ability in install infrastructure in glacial seabeds.

The GeoScan project, announced Wednesday by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster — a St. John’s-based network of businesses and researchers tasked with generating new technologies — will use wider 3D acoustic scans to provide the sector with more information in guiding decisions..

The project is being led by Newfoundland and Labrador marine imaging company PanGeo Subsea with a British Columbia-based partner, Cellula Robotics. Memorial University’s Marine Institute will also be involved.

PanGeo CEO Moya Cahill told CBC News that because of worldwide growth in the offshore wind sector her company has grown from 15 employees to 75 over the last two years.

Cahill said the technology will allow her company to satisfy the global market demand for offshore wind farms, but also helps the oil and gas industry.

“What’s driving our growth today is certainly offshore wind, but it can similarly be applied to the oil and gas sector as well as to marine construction,” she said. 

The Ocean Supercluster is providing $2 million in funding to the project, with the rest coming from industry partners. 

Confirming clean sites

In the short term, Cahill said, PanGeo has campaigns in Taiwan and the eastern United States seaboard. At home, Cahill added, companies including Husky Energy are using the technology. 

“We certainly see the global market as being what we need to reach for and we’ve been very successful over the last 10 years in capturing that market and being innovative leaders in site investigation offshore,” she said. 

As for decommissioning oil and gas projects, Cahill said her company already does work in that area throughout Canada, the U.K. and Europe. 

“We can go out with our robotic platforms and actually scan the subsea bed and confirm that all of the debris is removed from the subsea bed, and that that site has been returned like it was in a green field,” she said. 

“The future is so promising. It’s so exciting for PanGeo. This is the type of support that we need to leverage our ability to innovate on a global scale.”

OSC said the GeoScan Project will create highly skilled, full-time positions and placements at both PanGeo Subsea and Cellula through the development and implementation of the project.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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