Since we’ve seen a lot of activity in the United Kingdom (UK) by way of marine energy developments, it isn’t a huge stretch to estimate that the country is a leader in the ocean-based renewable energy sector. New information from the Carbon Trust, however, attaches some numbers to the UK’s dominant role in marine energy that show just how far along the country is toward generating energy from the ocean’s naturally occurring wave power.
Carbon Trust’s analysis shows that, so long as technology is successfully developed and deployed internationally and the UK builds on its existing lead, then it is in a position to capture just under 25% of the world’s marine energy market-the equivalent of up to over $124 billion (£76 billion) for the UK economy by 2050. Additionally, the growing renewable energy sector could provide up to 68,000 UK green jobs through growing export markets in countries like Chile, Korea, America and some of Europe’s Atlantic-facing states.
The analysis also indicates that total marine energy capacity in the UK could grow to be 27.5 gigawatts by 2050, which would be capable of supplying the equivalent of just over a fifth of the country’s current electricity demands. .
According to Carbon Trust’s statement, the UK currently provides about 35 of the world’s 120-130 wave energy and tidal stream device developers. British companies like Pelamis, Aquamarine Power and Marine Current Turbines are actively deploying their technologies in UK waters. Almost half of Europe’s wave resources and over a quarter of its tidal energy resources are located off the British coastline.
The analysis provides more than just impressive statistics, though. It also highlighted three challenging issues that face the industry. The organization suggests that the marine energy industry needs to push innovation in order to get technology on its way to commercial development since existing full-scale demonstrations need to be followed by utility scale deployment. Also, it is recommended that costs be reduced so that marine energy can compete with other renewable energy technologies. Finally, the analysis indicates that marine energy will need wider support in the way of public approval, grid upgrades and a manufacturing supply chain in order to reach the forecasts issued by the Carbon Trust.