IECRE expands third-party verification of tidal energy devices

Crucial step increases confidence in marine industry

IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, has established a new mechanism, which will allow applications from renewable energy test laboratories (RETLs) that cover the power performance assessment of electricity producing tidal energy converters within IEC Technical Specification (TS) 62600-200.

Tidal stream technology
A number of tidal stream technologies are being trialled in different countries (Photo: Siemens, UK)

The TS gives requirements for site and test conditions, measurement procedures and their exploitation to obtain the power curves.

The growth of renewable energy globally, including the emerging marine RE sector, is dependent on the development of international standards and the verification of compliance to these. Third-party verification to consensus-based standards reduces marine energy equipment and project risk and improves their safety, performance and reliability, which increases confidence in the marketplace.

“The recently published Operational Document (OD) and the associated Rules of Procedure enabling 3rd-party testing to the 62600-200 Technical Specification under the IECRE System is a milestone and it will increase confidence in the marine industry which is critical in order to grow the sector. It’s going to allow the issuance of third party, transportable renewable energy test reports (RETRs), which verify the power curve and other parameters of tidal energy converters”, said Jonathan Colby, IECRE, Marine Energy OMC Chair.

Great potential

According to a report by the World Energy Council, 0,5 GW of commercial marine energy generation capacity is in operation and another 1,7 GW under construction, with 99% of this accounted for by tidal range. The report also notes that in the best scenario, the global market for wave and tidal deployment could reach GBP 40 billion per year by 2050.

While ocean energy has the potential to increase in the long term, most projects are still in the demonstration phase and face challenges, such as high costs, harsh environments and the need to protect the immediate nature and wildlife.

The power of water

There are plenty of success stories. The world’s largest operating tidal stream turbine in Scotland produced more than three gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity in less than 12 months. Over the last year, the turbine supplied the equivalent annual electricity demand for around 830 UK households. At times, the energy provided to the Orkney Islands, with a population of around 22 000, was more than 25 percent of its electricity demand.

The first French tidal turbine to produce energy, which has been fed to some of the residents on the island of Ushant, established the power curves of the tidal turbine prototype according to IEC TS 62600-200.

Other pilot projects are being developed and tested around the world in North America, UK and Europe, some Asian and African countries and Australia. 

Find out more

Interested parties are encouraged to contact their member body or IECRE for further information.