The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has been designated with Renewable Energy Testing Laboratory (RETL) status, the highest international designation for marine energy test laboratories.
RETL designation is awarded by the International Electrotechnical Commission – Renewable Energy System (IECRE), which operates a global certification system addressing three renewable energy sectors: solar photovoltaic (PV), wind energy and marine energy. EMEC is the first RETL for ocean energy in the world.
A prerequisite to being recognized as a marine energy RETL is to be accredited as a test laboratory. EMEC has been accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO/IEC 17025 as a test laboratory since 2005 and ISO/IEC 17020 as an inspection body since 2014.
EMEC could perform accredited performance assessments within the UK. The RETL designation enables EMEC to perform tests to assess the power performance of tidal energy converters anywhere in the world in compliance with IEC TC 114 Technical Specifications.
For now, the RETL designation only covers the power performance assessment of tidal energy converters (IEC/TS 62600-200). However, the IECRE system is in the process of expanding such a designation to cover wave energy converters and additional competence areas as well.
“Given the complexity and size of the challenges in developing ocean energy technologies – consenting, commissioning, installation, operations, maintenance – it is extremely difficult for investors, funders and insurers to adequately conduct comprehensive technical due diligence,” said Elaine Buck, EMEC’s technical manager. “Thus, the IECRE offers a comprehensive and transparent third-party renewable energy conformity assessment system that ensures that project installations adhere to accepted international standards.
“For EMEC, gaining RETL designation is a major achievement, providing independent assurance that ISO/IEC 17025 and IECRE criteria have been met for integrity, technical competence and quality, and that the methods we use are standardized and transparent. RETL status opens up international markets to EMEC for testing ocean energy devices, subsystems and components.”
The first company whose technology will be assessed by EMEC as an RETL will be Verdant Power, which is working to receive the first internationally recognized Renewable Energy Test Report (RETR) through the IECRE system. Verdant is gearing up to deploy three Gen5 turbines in New York City’s East River later in 2020.
Established in 2003, EMEC offers independent, accredited grid-connected test berths for full-scale prototypes, as well as test sites in less challenging conditions for use by smaller scale technologies, supply chain companies and equipment manufacturers. Twenty wave and tidal energy clients spanning 11 countries having tested 32 marine energy devices.