Annual Report 2014
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Executive Summary

77736-ana2.png   Dr. Ana Brito e Melo
OES Executive Secretary

Ocean Energy Systems (OES) is the short name for the international technology initiative on Ocean Energy under the International Energy Agency (IEA), known as ‘Implementing Agreement on Ocean Energy Systems’.

This Annual Report presents an overview of the activities undertaken within OES in 2014.


As of end of 2014, 23 countries had signed the Implementing Agreement, with invitations extended to several others. This membership, from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Oceania, provides a broad international base of experience and knowledge.

National governments appoint a Contracting Party to represent the country on the Executive Committee and there is a diversified representation of interests: governmental departments, utilities, universities and research organizations, energy agencies and industry associations. By information sharing and collaborative activities, participants gain an international perspective on ocean energy issues, opportunities and present challenges. The OES held two ExCo Meetings in 2014: The 26th and 27th meetings were convened in Paris, France (14 – 15 May 2014), and Halifax, Canada (10 – 11 November 2014). 

OES began operating in 2001 and has released an annual report every year since then. Chapter 1 is an introductory chapter addressing the role, values and benefits of OES. Chapter 2 provides information about present membership, gives a status overview of the OES programme of activities and interactions with the IEA during the year. Chapter 3 addresses dissemination activities while key accomplishments during 2014 are presented in Chapter 4

As in previous years Chapter 5 presents a contribution by acknowledged project developers. Three leading project developers in ocean energy (DP Energy, Emera and ESB) were invited to respond to the following questions:

  1. The ocean energy sector needs the first pre-commercial projects in the water, and your organization has a leading role worldwide. Could you give some information of your short to medium term plans given the current conditions?
  2. Project development involves a wide variety of risks, including technical, regulatory and financial. Could you describe the most critical that you have encountered/ encounter and how could they be overcome?
  3. If support measures are put in place in order to overcome those barriers, can you identify the responsible stakeholders for delivering solutions, such as governments, supply chain, research sector, etc., and what would be the expected improvement in terms of your project pipeline and cost reduction achievable?
  4. How do you see that international collaboration could accelerate ocean energy growth and what, specifically, is the role that you would like OES to play in supporting the development of ocean energy?

Under Chapter 6 each OES member country presents its national programme activities over the last year. The final Chapter 7 is a compilation of statistical information provided by all country representatives. Background information is presented in the appendixes.

This Executive Summary provides an introduction to the 2014 OES Annual Report. It synthesizes progress with the OES collaborative activities and outlines the political initiatives and demonstration projects worldwide presented by each OES member country.

Membership of the OES involves a commitment to national participation in certain collaborative research activities. Some of these research projects generally have duration of a number of years and are led by an ‘Operating Agent’ from a member country, responsible for coordinating each project and reporting on progress to the Executive Committee (ExCo). Under the OES nomenclature these research projects are defined as ‘Annexes’ to the Implementing Agreement. The ExCo has also introduced some shorter-term projects (approximately 1 year duration).

In 2014, OES participants contributed to the following data collection and analysis effort and worked on specific research topics:

  • Assessment of Environmental Effects and Monitoring Efforts for Ocean Wave, Tidal and Current Energy Systems (Annex IV) - providing access to knowledge and information related to research, monitoring, and evaluation of environmental effects of offshore renewable energy, accessed from Tethys, an online knowledge management system. Tethys currently includes 82 project sites and 57 research studies and it continues to expand and to increase user interactions. During 2014, researchers, regulators, developers, and stakeholders provided over a hundred peer review comments on the content and functionality of Tethys; Annex IV sponsored two workshops (Scotland and Nova Scotia), three webinars and two experts’ forums.
  • The Exchange and Assessment of Ocean Energy Device Project Information and Experience (Annex V) - promoting the sharing, interchange, evaluation, and compilation of information on OES projects from participating member countries. To this end, Annex V has been sponsoring a series of workshops, bringing international experts together to exchange data that can be used to develop an assessment of the fundamental knowledge of ocean energy. Two workshops have already been held: the first was on the site development and operations for open water testing and the second was on computational modelling and analysis of marine energy converters. The third workshop was on "Designing for Reliability of Wave and Current Marine Energy Converters" and is to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in February 2105. A fourth workshop on cost of energy is being planned for the fall of 2015.
  • Worldwide Web GIS Database for Ocean Energy – interactive web based GIS mapping application launched in the first quarter of 2014 with detailed global information related to ocean energy in an easy to use yet visually striking way. Information has been updated on ocean energy facilities, resources, relevant infrastructure, in conjunction with the respective location on a global map.
  • Cost of Energy Assessment for Wave, Tidal and OTEC – engaging a large number of international stakeholders to deliver a reliable and credible LCOE assessment together with the identification of the routes to maximise rapid cost reduction at a global level taking into account the experience from other technologies.
  • Consenting Processes for Ocean Energy on OES member countries – with inputs from all OES member countries providing a coherent overview of several aspects of the consenting processes, addressing: Marine Spatial Planning policies and site selection for ocean energy development, regulatory issues, environmental impact assessment requirements, consultation and challenges to the consenting process.

The ExCo approved the development of an International Ocean Energy Technology Roadmap in line with the IEA own technology roadmapping work. This initiative will be conducted during 2015. Another activity expected to move forward in 2015 is an international joint research project on OTEC aiming to investigate a number of issues, such as its current situation, methodologies for OTEC evaluation, environmental assessment, cost of energy, operation and safety.

In 2014, OES was much involved in the organisation of the programme of the International Conference on Ocean Energy (ICOE 2014) held in Halifax, Canada, hosted by Marine Renewables Canada. During this event OES organized of a “poster award”, a cash prize to 3 students selected by an international jury, composed of members of the ExCo. An international seminar on ocean energy in Argentina was sponsored by the OES. Another important event in 2014 was the workshop in Paris within the framework of the OECD project on the future of the ocean economy, with special emphasis on the potential development of emerging ocean based activities. This event was co-organised by the OES as part of the OES contribution for the study.

The OES continues to develop a suite of information dissemination tools that will assist the OES in becoming a leading authority on ocean energy. The OES has been continuously interacting with the IEA by providing current information and contribution to IEA publications, such as the Energy Technology Initiatives.


OES member countries recognise that commercialisation and deployment of ocean energy will help meet the goal of clean and sustainable energy supply. National targets for ocean energy have been set up in several countries under their Renewable Energy Action Plans or Strategic Action Plans for Energy Development to help drive policy measures for the deployment of renewables in general and ocean energy in particular.

In some countries however the original targets seem difficult to achieve due to the lack of a specific national strategy for ocean energy development. Several countries have been working on a national maritime strategy aiming to present actions for a sustainable development of the industries related to the sea, which in a way includes ocean energy.

Roadmapping initiatives concerning prioritization of research and demonstration activities for marine energy are being conducted in several OES member countries.

The development of national marine spatial plans by most of the OES member countries is also expected to provide a framework for all activities in the sea and for improving licensing arrangements for ocean energy projects.

Several countries do not have explicit legislation and regulation dedicated to ocean energy yet. The permitting process for ocean energy projects remains a challenge. OES member countries tend to deal with projects on a case-by-case basis, using existing regulatory requirements applicable to other sectors. Efforts have been done to promote national planning including ocean energy and to clarify the regulatory process in the sea.

No dedicated consenting process exists in Spain for ocean energy technologies but the new law approved in December 2013 simplifies the environmental evaluation of marine energy projects. Also in Portugal the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation released by the end of 2013, created a web based “onestop-shop” facility for the environmental licensing of projects thus enabling clarification of the timeline of the licensing procedures.

In particular in 2014, a dialogue concerning the use of the sea in Denmark took place with the authorities. In Norway, the licensing process for demonstration projects is efficient and pragmatic as it concerns, at this stage, small installations, limited in time. New Swedish legislation on marine spatial planning came into force on 1 September 2014. 

In UK, plans to run a leasing process for tidal range projects were confirmed in 2014, following an industry engagement exercise to understand the market interest in future tidal range and lagoon projects around the UK. Furthermore, in Wales a new organisation, the Natural Resources Wales (NRW), created in 2013, has been assuming the responsibility for the administration of marine licensing for the Welsh Government. 

In the United States, there are several key pieces of federal legislation currently under consideration and significant progress has been made to expedite the permitting process for ocean energy projects. In Canada, the Government of Nova Scotia continues to develop legislation specific to marine renewable energy and in 2014 established a feed-in tariff approval process for larger-scale tidal projects, aiming to encourage the industry investment in Nova Scotia over the next 5-6 years.


Several OES member countries have public funding programmes designed to encourage renewable energy development in general and most of these programmes also apply to ocean energy. In some countries there are dedicated funding programmes for ocean energy R&D. However, in a few OES member countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and New Zealand, there are very limited opportunities for funding ocean energy projects. 

The UK has in place several consistent funding mechanisms from different funding bodies to support R&D projects, from basic strategic and applied research to medium size projects up to deployment of demonstration arrays. 

Notable is the total amount of financial support to ocean energy projects in China, in 2014, around RMB 800 million, with more than 90 marine energy projects supported. 

In the United States, the Water Power Program has a clear role in expediting the development and deployment of innovative ocean energy technologies. The Water Power Program’s annual budget for ocean energy R&D climbed from $31.6 million in 2013 to $41.3 million in 2014. 

To date Canada has committed approximately $37 million to marine renewable energy RD&D since 2010, with an additional $13 million to demonstration projects that include in-stream tidal, river-current and wave energy technologies. Several projects have also received support from provincial economic development agencies.

The European Commission is a significant source of funding for ocean energy. Several OES members have been involved in R&D projects with support from the FP7, the European Union’s Research and Innovation funding programme for 2007 2013, the predecessor of H2020 launched last year. In 2014, OCEANERA-NET was further set up by the European Commission as a network of funding agencies of R&D programmes, from 9 countries, in the field of ocean energy.


Sea testing facilities are in general pre-consented areas, where an infrastructure is provided, from grid connection to marker buoys, as well as trained and experienced personnel and appropriate equipment, thereby reducing timing uncertainties and reducing costs to developers.

The development of open sea test facilities encourages the development of ocean energy, facilitating the administrative and legal requirements and enabling practical experience of installation, operation and maintenance of prototypes.

UK has 3 world class sea testing facilities (EMEC, WaveHub, FaBTest) and a strong commitment from the Government to support the continuing development of the marine energy sector. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), on the Orkney Islands (Scotland), continues to attract developers; Wave Hub, in South West England, has been able to secure customers for all four of its berths and FaBTest has been operating as a non-grid connected site since November 2011.

Ireland has a ¼ scale test wave energy site in Galway Bay and is developing the Atlantic Marine Energy Testa Site (AMETS), located offshore at Belmullet, for full scale, open ocean testing.

In Denmark, the Danish test site for Wave Energy Conversion (DanWEC) has included the 1:10 Nissum Bredning site as part of its portfolio. Belgium has a test facility at approximately 1 km from the Harbour of Ostend.

There are two test sites in Sweden, Lysekil wave power research site and Söderfors marine currents research site, both operated by Uppsala University. A third site, Sotenäs wave power demonstration facility, is under development, led by Seabased Industry AB in cooperation with Fortum. 

Runde Environmental Centre (REC) located on Runde Island, off the Norwegian west coast is a research centre with activities on marine biology and oceanography and available for wave energy testing.

In the Netherlands, a tidal test site was set up in the Marsdiep, near Texel, operated by Tidal Testing Centre NL.

In Portugal, Enondas, a subsidiary of the Portuguese Grid Transmission System Operator (REN), holds a 45-year lease for 320 km2 of seabed, since 2010. In 2014, the geophysical characterisation of the test site, the environmental impact assessment and the access regulation for developers have been published. Bimep (Biscay Marine Energy Platform) located on the Basque coast of Spain obtained all the required administrative permits for wave energy trials and further the licensing procedure for offshore wind testing has been initiated. The Oceanic Platform of the
Canary Islands (PLOCAN) offers a marine test site for testing wave energy prototypes and it is expected to be grid connected by the end of 2015.

The Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC) operated by the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) in the United States has a variety of test sites for wave and tidal current. The Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center (SNMREC) continues to develop a test site for small scale ocean current turbines. The Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center (HINMREC) plans to support the operation of the open wave energy test site operated by the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in Hawaii. The permitting process in this site has been completed and the construction of two additional grid connected test berths for wave energy devices has been initiated.

FORCE, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, located in the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada, successfully installed four subsea power cables during the course of 2014 and has been able to secure customers for all four of its grid connected berths (fullscale demonstrations and arrays).

In other OES countries, plans for open sea test sites are in progress: NZ-MEC is a proposed R&D and test site in New Zealand, off the Wellington coast. In Korea, sea test sites for wave and tidal energy devices are currently being planned and feasibility studies have been carried out for a few sites. In China, a small scale test site was authorized for a 40-year lease and additionally, two full scale test sites (for wave and tidal current) are being planned.


The recent news of pioneering companies failing to secure funding for the continuous development of their projects presents additional challenges to the sector. Nonetheless, in several OES member countries around the globe we have seen good progress with several demonstration projects going to the water.

  • UK: EMEC, the European Marine Energy Centre on the Orkney Islands, was very active throughout 2014: 5 wave energy projects and 7 tidal current energy projects were tested. Other deployments have been reported in different parts around the UK: Wavehub and Falmouth Bay Test (FaBTest) Site. Marine Current Turbine’s Seagen machine (1.2 MW) has been operational in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland since 2008 and a new technology, Minesto, has also successfully been deployed in this area. Tidal Energy Limited unveiled soon to be installed in Wales and the first phase of a planned 380 MW tidal array scheme by MeyGen Limited is advancing in the Pentland Firth in Scotland.
  • Portugal: Pico Plant owned by WavEC, in Azores, continues to deliver electricity to the grid; while the grid connected WaveRoller demonstration project in Peniche completed another series of tests in the autumn of 2014.
  • Spain: the Mutriku OWC breakwater promoted by EVE (the Basque Energy Agency) using Voith Hydro technology has already produced more than 650 MWh since starting operation in July 2011. A few other projects have been progressing: Wedge Global tested their wave energy demonstration project at Plocan site, Canary Islands, and the Magallanes tidal current project has been tested at EMEC.
  • Italy: the tidal current submerged floating concept, known as GEM, has been tested near Venice in a very slow speed current, and a full scale prototype is being designed for deployment in the Strait of Messina. The Kobold Turbine, developed since 1998, is now very close to being installed on Lombok Island, Indonesia, under the auspices of UNIDO. During 2014, Enel Green Power and 40South Energy, began the installation and commissioning of a wave energy converter in Tuscany.
  • The Netherlands: 2 tidal current projects were operational in 2014, as well as the salinity gradient energy pilot plant Friesland/Afsluitdijk (50 kW), with a few other projects planned for deployment, including an OTEC pilot plan in Curacao (Caribbean Sea).
  • Denmark: the wave energy converter known as Crestwing has been tested at sea and support from has been granted for the design, building and testing of 3 Danish prototypes.
  • Norway: Havkraft deployed in the sea a 200 kW demonstration wave energy converter and Andritz Hydro Hammerfest is now taking the step into commercial delivery of their tidal current energy project. There are other active Norwegian developers moving forward.
  • Sweden: two projects were operational during 2014, the Lysekil wave power project and the Söderfors marine current, both operated by Uppsala University. Sotenäs Project is progressing with the installation of their wave energy units in the sea expected to achieve a total installed power of 10 MW. Other Swedish developers are progressing towards the testing of their devices in the sea.
  • The United States: several projects were deployed and tested during 2014 with grant support from the US Department of Energy (DOE). These included the M3 Wave project tested off the coast of Oregon, the Oscilla Power wave energy converter tested off the coast of New Hampshire and the RivGen Power deployed in Alaska. Several other deployments are planned with funding from DOE: Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI), Resolute Marine Energy and Columbia Power Technologies. Fred Olsen’s Lifesaver device is planned to be deployed in Hawaii with the support of U.S. Navy funding.
  • Canada: in December 2014, four developers received FIT approvals to be developed at FORCE site, totalling 17.5 MW; a number of river current technologies have been tested at the Canadian Hydrokinetic Test Centre. The 20 MW Annapolis Royal tidal barrage power plant continues to operate today by Nova Scotia Power.
  • Korea: in 2014, KRISO achieved two important milestones: the successful construction of the 500 kW demonstration OWC plant on Jeju Island and the 200 kW OTEC plant. Further the 300 kW floating wave energy converter (pendulum-activated) completed its detail design.
  • Singapore: the company Hann-Ocean Energy has been testing its first commercial pilot project since August 2013, comprising 4 units of Drakoo-B0004 wave energy converters delivered to Jurong Shipyard Pte Ltd.
  • New Zealand: Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) have successfully completed sea trials with pilot scale projects in New Zealand and Oregon with the AzuraWave (former Wave Energy Technology New Zealand or WETNZ) and the project is preparing to move now to Hawaii.
  • China: The Jiangxia Tidal Power Plant, the largest tidal power station in China with more than 30 years of operation, is being upgraded from 3.9 MW to 4.1 MW. In some Chinese islands the concept of hybrid power stations (combining ocean, wind and solar energy) is being developed: one of these projects, on Zhaitang Island, has been in operation, since June 2013.