International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

July 2013


Marine and hydro energy

From oceans and rivers to grids and homes

Claire Marchand

This issue reviews some of the technologies developed and deployed to gather power from oceans and rivers throughout the world and explains the role of IEC TC 114 and several other TC/SCs that prepare International Standards for these sectors.

Early bird registration for World Smart Grid Forum 2013

While this issue of e-tech focuses on several aspects of the marine and hydro energy sector, first of all, we want to draw your attention to the World Smart Grid Forum 2013, an event jointly organized by the IEC, SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) and VDE, the German Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies. Taking place in Berlin, Germany, on 23-25 September, it is a unique opportunity to get a different perspective on the Smart Grid issue. Don’t miss out on the early bird registration, available until 24 August!

Marine energy

And now back to the topic of the month. Marine energy is emerging as a huge and potentially unlimited source of power. Oceans cover more than 70% of Earth's surface; they are sources of huge kinetic energy from waves, currents and tides, and of thermal energy in the form of heat they collect from the sun. IEC e-tech reviews some of the technologies that are being developed and deployed throughout the world and explains the role of TC 114, the Technical Committee that prepares International Standards for marine energy converters.


Once gathered, ocean power has to be transferred from the converters to the grid and end users. Many of the systems and parts necessary for this are already available in offshore oil and gas installations and offshore wind turbines. International Standards developed by various IEC TCs (Technical Committees) and SCs (Subcommittees) support this deployment.

Small Hydro projects

On the hydro side, the IEC plays a pioneering role in preparing International Standards for small hydropower, that is installations of up to 15 MW. These can add significantly to the capacities of large and small countries and bring prosperity to communities deprived of electricity.


  • This issue looks at the various technologies used to gather marine energy (Photo: Siemens press picture)
  • Microhydro electric generator in Nicaragua generates 9kW of power (Photo: Green Empowerment blog)
  • Claire Marchand, Managing Editor e-tech



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