IEA-OES releases international guidance framework for ocean energy technology

An International Guidance Framework builds the foundations of a clear, unambiguous evaluation methodology for cost-efficiency and technical success of ocean energy technologies.

The IEA-OES releases “An International Evaluation and Guidance Framework for Ocean Energy Technology” to respond to a need to have a completely objective evaluation of how a technology performs against key criteria. The information required to carry out a fully objective, quantitative evaluation is not always available, especially at the early stages of the development process. This means that the evaluation approach must evolve, taking in to account the development stage, activities completed and the available information.

International acceptance of a common approach to technology development and evaluation brings the following benefits:

  • Clarity in the expectations from different stakeholders during each stage of development, bringing clearer communication
  • Consistency in the use of terminology, and the process to evaluate technology, ensuring a level playing field
  • Stakeholders working together to build confidence and transparency in the sector
  • Efficient decision-making processes promoting direction of funding to the technologies with highest chances of commercial success
  • Technology development processes consistent across the world, leading to more international collaboration more globally transferrable technology

This document is applicable to subsystems (e.g. power take-off, mooring and connection systems), devices (wave energy converters and tidal stream energy converters) and arrays of devices and is intended to be used by different stakeholders like developers, research organisations, standard institutions and private and public funding organisations.

This Task developed within the IEA-OES work programme has taken an iterative approach, engaging numerous stakeholders from across the ocean energy sector and building upon previous work. Beyond the release of this document, work will continue through engagement and collaboration with standards institutions, progressing towards a complete and internationally agreed process for maturation and evaluation of ocean energy technology.

The goal of this document is to accommodate formal standards and guidelines, where they already exist, and provide cues for the future production of other supporting standards and guidelines where required.

Matthijs Soede (vice-chair IEA-OES Exco: ‘Beyond delivery of this document, OES will continue engagement and collaboration, progressing towards an internationally agreed process for maturation and evaluation of ocean energy technology. This Guidance framework is an important milestone.’

Jonathan Hodges, Senior Innovation Engineer, Wave Energy Scotland: ‘This document is a valuable step towards the concept of a ‘Technology Passport’, where innovative solutions can demonstrate pedigree by completing internationally agreed development stages. This facilitates improved international collaboration between funders and developers across the wave and tidal stream sectors.’