Performance Metrics International Framework for Ocean Energy

Start date: 2017
End date: Permanent


Taking the experience and lessons learned from more than two decades of ocean energy technology and market development into account, a detailed monitoring of progress and success should have the following characteristics:

• It is necessary to differentiate between the various needs of the development stages from R&D, Prototype, Demonstration, to Pre-Commercial and Industrial Roll-out;
• Criteria need to be defined which are specific to each development stage;
• A connection must be made between the performance criteria and the availability of certain types of support in the form of public and private funding;
• The process should use continued feasibility-checks on the OE technology potential with an increasing focus on LCOE as the technology matures.

After this initial period of focussing on the technological feasibility (Can it be done? Does it work?), where the only metric used was the successful technology evolution to higher TRL levels, economics and other social acceptance criteria have been identified that need to be considered at an early development stage for ocean energy technology to be commercially successful.

The current situation is characterised by an ongoing international collaboration on the development of ocean energy technology and the management of the various stage-gated technology development programmes run by funders around the world. This has led to an ongoing need to develop a process for defining appropriate and rigorous metrics for measuring success in a number of critical target areas of ocean energy technology development.

Furthermore, associated numerical success thresholds must be identified for each metric which can be applied at each stage of development as stage gate success thresholds. The objective of these activities is to build clarity, information and understanding to support the definition of a fully defined set of metrics and success thresholds. These “stage gate measurements of success” in interrelated topic areas are linked to a top-level optimisation of Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) – the key metric into which all others inevitably feed. This provides a significant international challenge since a final definition of metrics and success thresholds will, to some extent, be specific to a technology area and perhaps the type of market targeted.


OES Task 12 addresses the ongoing need to define appropriate and rigorous metrics for measuring success in a number of critical target areas of ocean energy technology development. The ultimate objective is to establish a common international stage gate metrics framework to be used by technology developers, investors and funders.

An internationally accepted approach provides device developers, national and international funding organisations, and the development community the following benefits:

• The ability to measure technology development progress and success;
• A methodology to assist in the management of competitive innovation calls that can compare the viability of competing technologies;
• An approach for ensuring appropriate allocation of funding to the most promising technologies;
• A set of metrics to measure technology progress to illustrate the impact of funding;
• An internationally accepted and credible marker of success to aid in building technology confidence in investors and other stakeholders;
• The ability to make cross technology funding comparisons to help avoid replication or repetition of funding of technologies by numerous funders with similar objectives;
• Decision making assistance for private and public funders.

International collaboration in the development of tools such as metrics creates value through the facilitation of cross-funder comparisons and benchmarking. Common agreement of the method for assessing technologies and the associated success thresholds allow various funding organisations to learn from others, compare programmes, and avoid repetition and replication. This way the international collaboration encourages collaboration among developers and funders, and fosters standardisation of processes and designs.

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The result over time would be to publish an international framework which can be applied by all relevant stakeholders.

When completed, the framework should cover the following topics and achieve the results described in item 5 below:

1. Briefly describe the existing metrics and their application, benefits, and shortfalls;
2. Explain the process of defining a target development outcome, using stages, metrics and applying thresholds to identify stage gate completion and success;
3. Identify the different levels of detail needed to successfully use the stage gate metrics;
4. Identify the stage gate metrics needed to align a device developer’s road map and business plan with the strategy of an investor and that of the technology, market and energy policy targets of public funding programmes;
5. Identify and make available a methodology for evaluating and benchmarking OE technology concepts using a series of development stage gates and related evaluation metrics with the relevant thresholds needed to verify stage gate completion for use by the international community in developing commercially viable ocean energy technologies. This methodology, stage gates and metrics may already exist for some approaches such as “the structured innovation method” being developed by NREL and Sandia Labs for the U.S. DoE which is an advanced tool for guiding innovative development of new concepts.

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Webinar hosted by ETIP Ocean
30th May 2018

This webinar served as an introduction to the Metrics workshop that will be held at the ExCo meeting on June 14th. The target audience were OES members, or appropriate nominated representatives who have an interest or involvement in ocean energy metrics. 

Metrics present a measure of success, to support technology development programs and facilitate the selection of the most promising technologies. Creating a suite of internationally accepted metrics ensures standardisation in the ocean energy sector, enables comparison across different technologies and helps avoid the repetition of funding. 

This webinar discussed the objectives and benefits of developing stage gate metrics for ocean energy technology. This was led by EC delegate, Matthijs Soede, with speakers from Wave Energy Scotland and the US Department of Energy outlining the work done to date in the development of metrics.

A second workshop was organized on June 14th, during the OES ExCo Meeting.