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International Ocean Energy Technology Roadmap

Start: 2015 | End: 2017

Roadmaps (RMs) are an effective tool to underpin the identification of priority focus areas and investments to accelerate ocean energy technology development, allowing LCOE reductions to be realised.

Additionally, roadmaps can facilitate the creation of international frameworks to accelerate the development and adoption of low carbon technologies.

Unified international policies are a key step towards a successful marine energy industry and then the creation of an international roadmap is very important to achieve that goal.

There is an opportunity for OES in collaboration with its members to engage with and support the construction and development of an International Ocean Energy technology roadmap, engaging with ongoing work in international assessments of LCOE, and building upon this with directed effort at outlining the credible pathways towards a reduced LCOE, and demonstrating the long term implications of ensuring ocean energy plays a significant role within the EU energy mix. This opportunity is in line with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) own technology road-mapping work (and the policies that underpin these documents), and can underpin and enhance international collaboration, whilst influencing and guiding both political and business decision makers within the field of ocean energy.

Originally, the UK was the only country with a dedicated ocean energy technology roadmap. Now that other countries are planning their own ocean energy roadmaps (Chile, Canada or the US) there is significant opportunity for OES to provide underpinning knowledge and information to these initiatives, as well as providing synthesis and identification of common areas and synergies. This will avoid international duplication of effort while at the same time providing opportunities for ocean energy sector acceleration. In addition, it will provide invaluable guidance to countries presently without their own dedicated ocean energy roadmap.

The overall objective of the ocean energy technology roadmap is to achieve LCOE targets within the ocean energy sector. This requires principal focus on two key areas: Reliability improvement and Performance Improvement.

The ocean energy technology roadmap will outline the credible routes to LCOE reduction in terms of both innovation pathways, and milestones that must be achieved. This roadmap will be specifically designed to influence the OES members, mainly public and private technology funders in order to give them advice regarding R&D prioritization.

Specific objectives of the work include:

  1. Identification of the key gaps in knowledge in Ocean Energy technologies that are currently hindering cost reduction;
  2. To prioritise research and innovation activity requirements according to the previously mentioned challenges (both in the short term and the long term) for the efficient and effective progression of the ocean energy sector, overcoming the challenges and realising significant cost reductions;
  3. Engaging and mobilizing the supply chain for device and project developers to tap into experience and expertise from other industrial sectors, such as shipbuilding, fishing and aquaculture.
  4. Identify development timelines and milestones in order to measure and track progress, and ultimately the cost reductions, against OES expectations of the sector.

Additional benefits of this project will ensure:

  1. Influence in research and innovation funding strategies to address the relevant ocean energy priorities.
  2. The encouragement of closer collaboration and knowledge exchange between research organisations and technology developers and others outside of the existing ocean energy community.
  3. Underpinning research that enhances international collaboration, whilst influencing and guiding both political and business decision makers.
  4. The identification of correct policies and measures, implementation timescales, and specific topics on which to focus R&D and business investments to accelerate ocean energy technology development.
  5. Facilitating the creation of international frameworks to accelerate the development and deployment of Ocean Energy technologies.


A Battelle approach to road-mapping is utilised in combination with stakeholder workshops and/or with interviews with key stakeholders. The main steps of the Battelle approach are displayed below:

  • Step 1 : Vision Statement
    The OES Vision Statement defines the major target for 2020-2050, which will be achieved through the various stages of the Deployment Strategy. The first stage will be accomplished by providing new information for updating the OES An International Vision for Ocean Energy document, which will be underpinned by the OES Levelised Cost Of Energy project and the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives modelling work.

  • Step 2: Analyse Current Landscape.
    Defined as a capabilities assessment including details of:
    • Existing, underpinning research.
    • Development & demonstration projects.
    • Research facilities and test centres.
    • International and national networks.

This will require significant international interaction. The OES members will play a key role in representing the views of the various national stakeholders they represent.

  • Step 3: The RM route and destination including:
    • Deployment Challenges:
      Such scenario should include installed capacity for economy of scale, energy/electricity production and other products (in the case of OTEC), efficiency improvement and technology improvement for instance. It is suggested that this activity is conducted utilising  an engagement/workshop or interview process to define a deployment scenario for each of the relative technologies. Critical technology development strategy timelines will be included in the strategy.

    • Commercial Challenges
      The commercial challenges define the mechanisms and infrastructure required to achieve the various stages in the deployment strategy – ultimately the identification of the correct policies and frameworks for establishing ocean energy technologies on a pathway to commercialisation.

    • Technical Challenges
      Although dependent on both the deployment and commercial strategies, the underpinning technical strategy is the main focus of an R&D roadmap. The technical strategy would be divided into themes or Technology Working Areas (TWAs), which represent the technology development chain in the emerging technologies. Many of the identified technology challenges relating to this analysis cross international borders. 

      In addition to international identification of challenges there will be the important opportunity for the identification of solutions to these challenges from both the engineering supply chain and research bases in the varying countries.

As a result of this Task, an International Vision for Ocean Energy Report has been published. 

The report can be downloaded in an english and a spanish version, at the bottom of this page.




The OES is organised under the auspices of the International Energy Agency (IEA) but is functionally and legally autonomous. Views, findings and
publications of the OES do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or its individual member countries.