Despite substantial progress, the path to commercialisation for the wave and tidal industries is taking longer and proving more difficult than initially expected.
This project charts recent activity and views in the sector; investigating the deployment pipeline and the market; exploring recent policy and political signals from UK and devolved administrations and the availability of market-pull instruments; and sets UK development in the global context.
It concludes that the wave and tidal sector is at an early stage of development, both technically and commercially, relative to other established renewable energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic and onshore/offshore wind. Technically it has been proven that wave and tidal energy converters can deliver electrical power into the grid, which was not the case only a decade ago. The track record of demonstrated performance at this stage is quite limited, although notable advances have been made in the past 12 months, particularly in tidal stream energy. Deployed capacity is also small both in the UK and globally, but several companies have ambitious plans for market expansion.
Most investment to date in the wave and tidal sector in terms of the supply chain, technology and project development has come from the private sector. This has been stimulated by government policy and market signals. For continued progress to be made this needs to be built upon to mobilise further private investment.