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Technology Readiness for Wave Energy Projects; ESB and Vattenfall classification system

Date: November 05, 2013 at 12:56 GMT

ESB and Vattenfall both aim to develop Wave Energy projects to supplement their renewable generation portfolio. Considering the ealry stage of supply chain development, a method is needed to determine when a particular technology is sufficiently developed to enable the first Utility-led projects to take place. To this effect, ESB Ocean Energy and Vattenfall Ocean Energy division have adopted Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) to gauge the verification level that a technology meets. Nine levels of readiness are described, but 2 key levels of readiness are described in more detail:
a) TRL8: Pre-Commercial Project Readiness for initial projects of <10MW using a technology first-of-type verified through single device test and demonstration alone. These projects will carry more risk and cost that will be managed with public grant and tariff support and will provide the necessary operational experience to enable follow-on commercial projects to be developed.
b) TRL9 Commercial Project Readiness for larger commercial projects using type certified technology that has been verified with in-service operational experience. Risks will be managed through commercial warranties, independent certification of type specifications and in-service reliability statistics.
Earlier stage TRL levels are also important to determine sensible development paths to achieving these utility requirements. However, achieving high levels of readiness is costly and Weber#1 suggests that technologies at an earlier stage should focus on achieving required performance levels before investing too heavily in achieving technology readiness. This paper defines the TRL levels in detail and communicates utility project requirements to developers and system integrators of wave energy technology. 

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