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A new wave of funding for Island’s “blue” sustainable tech projects

Millions have flowed to local ocean initiatives this spring

By Cameron Welch
April 22, 2023
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A new wave of funding for Island’s “blue” sustainable tech projects

Millions have flowed to local ocean initiatives this spring

By Cameron Welch
Apr 22, 2023
📸 A buoy-based wave data collection platform similar to this one will be deployed in the waters off Yuquot. Credit: UVic Photo
📸 A buoy-based wave data collection platform similar to this one will be deployed in the waters off Yuquot. Credit: UVic Photo
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A new wave of funding for Island’s “blue” sustainable tech projects

Millions have flowed to local ocean initiatives this spring

By Cameron Welch
April 22, 2023
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A new wave of funding for Island’s “blue” sustainable tech projects
📸 A buoy-based wave data collection platform similar to this one will be deployed in the waters off Yuquot. Credit: UVic Photo

Early 2023 has brought several rounds of new support for local ocean technology initiatives. Four weeks ago, just over half of the province’s $7M in Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) funding went to Victoria-based projects.

One recipient, Open Ocean Robotics, makes autonomous boats powered by the wind and sun that gather data out on the sea and can right themselves if overturned. Their jobs include looking for illegal fishing and monitoring where the Southern Resident orcas and other whales are and relaying that info to protect them from marine traffic. This winter Capital Daily profiled Open Ocean Robotics CEO and co-founder Julie Angus, who is also the first woman to row across the Atlantic.

The province also gave $2M to the Centre for Ocean Applied Sustainable Technologies (COAST), a cluster of ocean innovation companies and projects centred in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

It’s one of several prominent ocean tech projects in the South Island, with others including UVic-based Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), which monitors data underwater from all around ocean waters on all three of Canada’s coasts using cables, buoys, and community-led observatories. ONC, which uses the data to study everything from climate effects to underwater noise, was re-funded by the federal government in February to the tune of $46.5M over 5 years.

UVic working on carbon-capture and wave energy

ONC isn’t UVic’s only ocean technology project. The university has been leading research into whether carbon can be pumped from the atmosphere into ocean basalt, where it would turn to solid rock in as little as 25 years.

Meanwhile, two months ago UVic’s Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery (PRIMED) got a million-dollar grant from the 2022 TD Ready Challenge for its work on developing a renewable energy microgrid involving wave energy at Yuquot on Nootka Island. The wave energy project is intended to help the Mowachaht / Muchalaht First Nation increase economic development and self-determination by reducing their reliance on diesel generators.

UVic was also recently funded with $2M by the province to test tidal energy and other sustainable energy ideas near West Thurlow Island near Campbell River. The test site will be used to evaluate devices and approaches that can help remote off-grid communities get off of reliance on diesel and power themselves.

For more on how these projects fit together, and the plans to make them a calling card for Greater Victoria, read Capital Daily’s previous feature story on the burgeoning local “blue economy.”

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Cameron Welch
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