Coordination key for tidal testing

Ocean energy test sites spanning Europe, Asia, and North America have agreed to coordinate procedures and standards to ensure consistency in testing marine energy converters across the globe.

Bringing together operational and planned test sites from around the world for the second time, the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) jointly hosted a discussion forum for international open-water test centres in Halifax, Canada, in association with the International Conference on Ocean Energy.

The discussions were focused on key issues for test sites, identified by participating organizations as environmental monitoring, standards development, and operational procedures.

Delegates agreed that standards are vital in the development of test centres for ocean energy, and that common ways need to be established for the collection and analysis of data. Sharing of data, best practice and lessons learned were also key themes during discussions.

Neil Kermode, EMEC’s managing director said it is critical for the emerging industry that standards are developed: “The establishment of a global network of test sites will, I believe, lead to a community of interest with common standards and approaches to the business of marine energy. Common standards, developed by worldwide experience, can only help accelerate the deployment of wave and tidal technologies. You only have to travel overseas and attempt to plug in a computer to see what I mean. Every country established their own standards for plugs and sockets in isolation and the end result is pointless diversity of detail in the simple plugs throughout the world. Marine energy devices are no different. In time, wave and tidal technologies will find their markets in dozens of countries and EMEC wants this to be as easy as possible both for the technology developers at EMEC and the ultimate customer here or overseas. We want a wave or tidal device which is certified at EMEC to be immediately marketable in any country, without expensive and time consuming re-validation.”

Each country has its own unique conditions, both physical and political, and exploring these challenges simultaneously will enable marine energy technologies to develop projects more rapidly than if tackled in isolation.

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