IECRE marine energy promoted at largest global hydropower event

Standards and testing enable essential marine technology design evaluation

By Antoinette Price

The leading renewable source for electricity generation globally is hydropower. In 2016, it generated 16.4% of the world's electricity, reaching 1,064 GW of installed capacity, and supplied 71% of all renewable electricity, according to a report by the World Energy Council.

water current converter Marine energy can be produced by wave, tidal and other water current converters (Photo: Siemens)

The power of water

Hydropower provides clean energy, water services, energy security and contributes to economic development. Its role is expected to increase in importance in future power systems, with significant new developments in Africa, China and Latin America. Some of the reasons behind this are an increased global demand for electricity, energy storage, water management and climate change mitigation.

However, the growth of all renewable energy (RE) is dependent on the development of international standards and the verification of compliance to these. 

In the case of marine energy, third-party verification to consensus-based standards reduces equipment and project risk, improves safety, performance and reliability, thereby increasing marketplace confidence.

Global system lowers risks and instils confidence

IECRE, the IEC System for the Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, was established to provide services comprising project and device certification for site selection, operational requirements, maintenance and repairs. It also covers the qualification of personnel for the wind, solar and marine sectors.

“If an industry can collectively establish technical standards and certification processes through global consensus, international markets will be able to evaluate technology viability fairly, more efficiently. This will eventually lead to the positive adoption of marine energy technologies worldwide”, said Sandy Butterfield, IECRE Chair.

Assessing the global potential of hydropower

Attending Hydrovision, the largest worldwide gathering of hydro professionals, in Colorado, US, in June, Butterfield participated in the panel session Current challenges for the marine and hydrokinetic energy (MHK) industry, aimed at identifying and discussing the challenges for this industry, with the goal of providing data and narrative for use when presenting to potential investors.  

In particular, he highlighted the fact that for tidal and wave energy equipment, testing alone was not sufficient for verifying design. Instead, design evaluation, requires checking extreme load cases and fatigue life verification, which are provided within the IECRE System.

The event covered a broad range of issues including:

  • Asset resilience and sustainability (strategy, business plans, technology and tools, training and education)
  • MHK (challenges, regulatory process, benefits of traditional hydro to MHK)
  • Operations and maintenance (inspection technology, planned outages, data capturing tools)
  • Regulations and policy (US and international changes in climate policy)
  • Civil works and dams (managing risk, remote technology for diagnosing and monitoring safety issues)  
  • New developments (impact of technology, power purchase agreements, interconnection and transmission, global case studies, future projects)
  • Water and environment (optimizing water use in multipurpose systems, creating environmental benefits with hydro)

IECRE marine sector

IECRE aims to facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in RE in the marine, solar PV and wind energy sectors, while maintaining the required level of safety.

IEC Technical Committee (TC) 114: Marine energy - Wave, tidal and other water current converters, prepares International Standards the IECRE System uses to assess marine energy systems. The Standards cover aspects, such as measurements of mechanical loads, guidance for design and analysis of an ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant, electrical power quality requirements and power performance assessment, for wave, tidal and other water current converters.

About Hydrovision International

Hydrovision Intl is the largest annual international event for hydro professionals with over 3000 attendees and 320 exhibitors. As well as offering insights into the role of hydropower and aspects affecting resources, participants can share knowledge, expertise and viewpoints toward effective solutions with water resource stakeholders. The exhibition showcases latest products and technology.

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water current converter Marine energy can be produced by wave, tidal and other water current converters (Photo: Siemens)
Sandy Butterfield, Chair, IECRE Sandy Butterfield, Chair, IECRE
IECRE IECRE - IEC System for the Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications