Orkney-based marine energy centre co-hosts Ocean Energy world conference in Canada

A test rig at the EMEC tidal test site
A test rig at the EMEC tidal test site

Ocean energy test sites spanning Europe, Asia, and North America have committed 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 Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) jointly hosted a discussion forum for international open-water test centres in Halifax, Canada, in association with the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE).

The event built on EMEC’s Global Ocean Energy symposium held last year in Orkney, which created a global network focused on collaborative opportunities for test centres in support of the developing ocean energy industry. Research bodies attending this year’s conference in Canada included:

CANADA: Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE)

CHINA

National Ocean Technology Centre:

Ocean University of China


FRANCE

France Energies Marines
Ecole Centrale de Nantes (SEM-REV)
West Normandy Marine Energy


JAPAN: Mitsubishi Corporation

PORTUGAL: Wave Energy Centre (WavEC)


SINGAPORE

Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University
Class NK


SPAIN

Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN)
Biscay Marine Energy Platform (BiMEP)


UK / SCOTLAND

Wavehub
The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)


USA

Hawaii Natural Energy Institute
Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre (Oregon State University)
Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre (University of Washington)
Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Centre (Florida Atlantic University)

This time round, discussions were focused on key issues for test sites, identified by participating organisations 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 learnt were also key themes during discussions.

Neil Kermode, Managing Director, EMEC, 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.

FORCE has recently laid four power cables along the sea floor of the Minas Passage, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, an operation which lasted almost four weeks, from mobilisation through sea trials and finally cable deployment.

“Our team has planned and prepared this operation for two years,” said FORCE Operations Director Anne-Marie Belliveau.

“There is a tremendous amount of expertise and precision required to lay a subsea cable in the challenging conditions of the Bay of Fundy. The learning from this experience can generate wisdom for similar sites worldwide and we are delighted to participate in this global network of test sites to promote and advance the industry.”

Joining the workshop from Japan, Kenichi Takemoto, Mitsubishi Corporation, said that the workshop has given a very valuable insight to marine energy testing from a global perspective.

“In Japan, we are just starting this journey and hope to learn from the experience of others to make sure we can follow best practice.”

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