International Standards Needed for Wave and Tidal Energy

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the global body for electrical energy standards, is recruiting experts from around the world to develop International Standards for wave and tidal energy technology that will help establish this source of renewable energy as a competitive form of electrical energy production.

With world production of electricity expected to double over the next quarter-century, according to the International Energy Outlook 2006, renewable energy production is expected to increase by 57%.

According to the International Energy Agency report to the recent G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany: “Accelerated deployment of renewables can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, enhance energy security and further reduce technology costs.”

It is expected that the International Standards, produced by the new IEC Technical Committee on Marine Energy-Wave and Tidal Energy Converters, will support the IEA’s efforts to recommend best practices for the effective network and integration of electricity from wave and tidal energy devices.

The IEC will help to ensure that, as the technologies mature, the International Standards will help to bring down technology costs to make renewable energy increasingly competitive with existing energy alternatives, while ensuring the transfer of expertise from traditional energy systems. Standards that will be developed by the new grouping of experts will cover the performance of tidal and wave energy converters, how these converters will plug into electricity grid systems, and how they should be tested.

Tidal or ocean energy devices are either floating or fixed and, to generate electrical energy, they tend either to oscillate or to rotate. Research on this technology started in Japan in the 1940s. While there has been limited use since the 1970s, functioning units have been in use in various countries since the 1990s, mostly as prototypes.

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