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Development of Codes and Standards for Marine Energy Converters

Lead Proponent: Marine Renewables Canada Society
Location: Nanaimo, BC
ecoEII Contribution: $ 1.2 M
Project Total: $ 2.1 M

Project Background:

New Energy hydrokinetic device (prototype 2)

The 5kW New Energy hydrokinetic device (prototype 2) being tested at the Canadian Hydrokinetic Turbine Test Centre (CHTTC)

The Canadian marine renewable energy industry has made significant progress in the advancement of marine energy technology research and commercialization in Canada.  A key requirement for further advancement of the industry is the development of International Standards for Marine Energy.  Standards development provides developers, investors, suppliers and prospective end-users with confidence and necessary accreditation, thereby accelerating acceptance and facilitating deployment.  Canada has played a leading and active role in the development of standards through the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 114 (IEC/TC114) for “Marine Energy – Wave, Tidal and other Water Current Energy Converters” since its inception in 2007.

To ensure that Canadian input and needs were appropriately reflected in the development of international standards, Canada formed the Canadian Sub-Committee with experts from industry, academia and the Federal government.  Within the first few years, the sub-committee grew quickly.  As the number of standards under development accelerated, the international demand for experts grew correspondingly.  This resulted in financial challenges for the Canadian sub-committee.  Recognizing this need, Marine Renewables Canada (MRC) proposed the “Development of Codes and Standards for Marine Energy Converters” project to NRCan for funding consideration.  EcoEII awarded $1.2M to MRC to maintain and enhance Canada’s participation in international marine renewable energy standards development and support standards focused research.


The Project spanned 3 ½ years (from September 2012 through to the end of March 2016) and involved 33 Canadian experts from different sectors and provinces.  The experts actively engaged in all TC114 project teams by participating in scope creation, methodology development review of draft documents. Over the course of the Project, 15 project teams were created and each focused on developing standards for different aspects of tidal, wave and river energy systems.  Canadian experts chaired 5 of the teams in areas of strategic relevance and importance to Canada, and “Shadow Committees” were established to engage Canadian stakeholders.  The net result is the publication of 6 standards. 

Undersea Cable

Undersea Cable Ready for Deployment in the Bay of Fundy Tidal Energy Device Test Site

Throughout the Project, the Canadian subcommittee met regularly to discuss progress and challenges.  The subcommittee gathered input from subcommittee members, and participated in standards development, ensuring that the needs of a rapidly growing Canadian marine energy industry were addressed.  Communication and outreach was also a critical component of the Project. The Canadian Subcommittee informed stakeholders through quarterly newsletters and web updates, and also attended conferences and open house events to engage and inform the public.

Moreover, 11 standards specific research projects were implemented and completed.  The projects spanned the full spectrum of marine energy with 2 on wave energy, 4 on tidal energy and 6 on river energy systems. Canada is the only participating country in IEC TC114 that had a program in place to fund standards specific research.

Benefits to Canada:

Creation, acceptance and use of global standards will lower the cost of marine energy technologies and reduce barriers to market for all Canadian industry stakeholders.  Steady development of the marine renewable energy industry in Canada will benefit the economies of Nova Scotia, the Atlantic Region and Canada as a whole.           

Next Steps:

The Canadian sub-committee will work to maintain its strong leadership position and continue to participate in all IEC TC114 project teams. The 6 published standards form a basis for the set of requirements that are necessary for the full certification system for tidal, wave and river energy systems. There continues to be a significant amount of work required to provide the industry with the documents needed to achieve commercial success in the next 5-10 years.

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