Photo: Illustration/Simec Atlantis' MeyGen turbine (Courtesy of Simec Atlantis)

IEA-OES releases evaluation guide for ocean energy technology

Ocean Energy Systems (OES), a program within the International Energy Agency (IEA), has published a new guidance paper to respond to the need to have a completely objective evaluation of how ocean energy technology performs against key criteria.

Illustration/Simec Atlantis' MeyGen turbine (Courtesy of Simec Atlantis)
Illustration/Simec Atlantis’ MeyGen turbine (Courtesy of Simec Atlantis)

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

According to IEA-OES, the international acceptance of a common approach to technology development and evaluation brings clarity in the expectations from different stakeholders during each stage of development, facilitating clearer communication.

Also, it streamlines decision-making processes by promoting direction of funding to the technologies with highest chances of commercial success, and aids in making technology development processes consistent across the world, in turn leading to increased international collaboration and more globally transferrable technology.

The newly released document is applicable to subsystems (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.

The goal of the 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.

Jonathan Hodges, Senior Innovation Engineer at Wave Energy Scotland, said: “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”.

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, according to IEA-OES.

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, IEA-OES said.