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New IEC Technical Committee to Harness Wave and Tidal Energy

USNC Seeks Comments on Participation, Scope, Secretariat

New York, Jun 13, 2007

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has created a new technical committee (TC) to address the ever increasing demand for alternative renewable resources. IEC TC 114, Marine Energy – Wave and Tidal Energy Converters, is recruiting industry experts to develop international standards for wave and tidal energy technology. The goal of TC 114 is to maximize the power that tidal energy offers as a competitive form of electrical energy production.

Harnessing alternative and renewable energy resources will reduce dependence on fossil fuels, mitigate the effects of global warming, and raise the living standard of people in developed and developing countries. In its report to the recent G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, the International Energy Agency (IEA) made clear that the accelerated deployment of renewable energy could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, improve energy security, and further drive down technology costs.

Tidal Power Facts
Unlike wind and solar energy, tidal power is seen as a reliably predictable renewable resource. Tides are caused by the orbital mechanics of the solar system, and are considered inexhaustible.

Two types of energy systems can be used to extract wave and tidal energy: 1) kinetic energy, which is generated by the moving water of rivers, tides and ocean currents; and 2) potential energy, created from the difference in height between high and low tides.

According to a recent IEC press release, the standards developed by TC 114 will support IEA’s efforts to recommend best practices for the effective network and integration of electricity from wave and tidal energy devices. As technologies advance, TC 114 will ensure that its standards help to make tidal energy increasingly competitive with existing energy alternatives, while ensuring the transfer of expertise from traditional energy systems.

Standards to be developed by the TC 114 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. The British and Canadian national committees to the IEC have applied for secretariat duties.

The U.S. National Committee to (USNC) the IEC is seeking public comment concerning the scope, member participation, and secretariat responsibilities of TC 114. Input received on these issues will be used to develop a U.S. position, to be submitted to the IEC Standards Management Board.

Comments may be sent to Charlie Zegers, USNC general secretary, (czegers@ansi.org) by close of business on Friday, July 13, 2007. The IEC proposal and an administrative circular are available for review as background documents.


The IEC develops and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology." IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies including power generation, transmission and distribution; home appliances and office equipment; semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, nanotechnologies and solar energy. Where there is electricity and electronics, the IEC works to supports safety and performance, the environment, electrical energy efficiency and renewable energies. The IEC also manages conformity assessment schemes that certify that equipment, systems or components conform to its international standards.

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