Setting international standards for the future


WEDUSEA partners at work
WEDUSEA partners at work

By Sean Barrett, OceanEnergy

As marine renewable energies continue to grow, international standards are also being rigorously developed to cover their performance, how they will interface with electricity grid systems and how they should be tested.

One of the objectives of WEDUSEA is to help inform the standards used worldwide for the wave energy industry. The results of our pioneering programme will feed into the databases used to define the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards.

What are the IEC standards?

The International Electrotechnical Commission is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. IEC Standards are often used as a basis to globally harmonize technical requirements in IEC member and non-member countries and IEC Standards play a critical role in developing world trade.

IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fiber optics, batteries, solar energy, nanotechnology and marine energy, as well as many others.

The generation, transmission, distribution, storage, and use of electricity are challenging requirements to meet, with ever growing worldwide demand in developed and developing countries. IEC International Standards, together with conformity assessment, underpin the entire energy chain, from electricity generation to its use by billions of devices.

IEC standards for wave energy

In 2007, The International Electrotechnical Commission announced the formation of Technical Committee 114: Marine Energy – Wave and Tidal Energy Converters. (TC144)

The IEC recruited experts from around the world to develop International Standards to cover the performance of tidal and wave energy converters.

More detail about TC114 can be seen here.

Many of the partners in the WEDUSEA project have been involved in this programme, helping shape the development of IEC standards for the future.

One of the key objectives of WEDUSEA is to ensure that our results feed into the development of these standards.

The scope of TC114 is to prepare international standards for marine energy conversion systems. This includes technologies within wave energy, tidal and current energy, river run and ocean thermal energy conversion. Environmental impacts such as acoustics and biofouling are also included under the umbrella of TC114.

The standards produced by TC114 will address the following:

  • Terminology
  • Management plans for technology and project development
  • Performance measurements of marine energy converters
  • Resource assessments
  • Design and safety, including reliability and survivability
  • Deployment, commissioning, operation, maintenance, retrieval, and decommissioning
  • Electrical interface, including array integration and/or grid integration
  • Testing laboratory, manufacturing, and factory acceptance
  • Additional measurement methodologies and processes.

Further information can be found here.

It can be seen that the development of international standards for this emerging industry is vital for its continued development and commercialisation. In Work Package 2, relevant IEC standards are being applied in the detailed design phase of the project. Later, in Work Package 8, the project partners will be surveyed to gather feedback for the IEC on the implementation of the standards throughout the project, both in the design phase and during the deployment at EMEC. How to achieve Certification is also being assessed in the WEDUSEA Project, with a study being carried out comparing the various routes available for the marine energy industry through IEC and other standard development bodies.

The WEDUSEA programme is proud that experts from within our pioneering partnership are at the forefront of this important work.

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Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CINEA. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.