This paper reviews key issues in the physical and numerical modelling of marine renewable energy systems, including wave energy devices, current turbines, and offshore wind turbines. The paper starts with an overview of the types of devices considered, and introduces some key studies in marine renewable energy modelling research. The development of new International Towing Tank Conference (ITTC) guidelines for model testing these devices is placed in the context of guidelines developed or under development by other international bodies as well as via research projects. Some particular challenges are introduced in the experimental and numerical modelling and testing of these devices, including the simulation of Power-Take-Off systems (PTOs) for physical models of all devices, approaches for numerical modelling of devices, and the correct modelling of wind load on offshore wind turbines. Finally, issues related to the uncertainty in performance prediction from model test results are discussed.The paper is based on the report of the International Towing Tank Conference specialist committee on Hydrodynamic Modelling of Marine Renewable Energy Devices to the 27th ITTC held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2014 (ITTC Specialist Committee on Hydrodynamic Modelling of Marine Renewable Energy Devices, 2014a. Final Report and Recommendations to the 27th ITTC Proc. 27th International Towing Tank Conference, Copehagen, Denmark, vol. 2, pp. 680–725).