Marine Renewable Energy Technology

03 June 2013 04:21 PM | #Market Research

Marine Renewable Energy Technologies (MRETs) convert the energy potential of waves and tides into electricity. Several approaches have been devised or are being developed to exploit this energy. Some examples of MRETs include:

For more detail on these and other varieties of MRETs that are currently being explored, see the RenwablesUK (formerly the BWEA).

Investing in Marine Renewable Energy Technologies

According to the BWEA, 35% of Europe’s wave power generating capacity is found within the UK with 50% of capacity from tidal power generation. However, the MRETs’ industry is still in its infancy with most MRET projects, especially in the UK, in early stages of development. Nonetheless, much interest is being directed towards these technologies with experts predicting that MRETs could provide up to 15% to 20% of the UK’s electricity needs, with up to 30GW installed by 2050.

To date, rapid maturation of the MRET industry has been hindered by the need for large scale capital expenditure to build, install and establish grid connections. The industry has been primarily driven by research and development, with technologies only being developed to the prototype stage due to a lack of financial support. This is especially true in the development of wave devices where harsh conditions impact on where they will be placed. If the device is over-engineered to withstand more than is necessary, it will add to the cost of electricity it produces and potentially become too expensive to the purchaser.

Progress has been made in this area, with strategic partnerships between utilities and emerging MRET companies occurring in several European countries. These partnerships involve utilities not only acting as investors but also as partners in technology development, which suggests the interest in and feasibility of successful deployment of commercial MRETs. Additionally, early stage investors are still being drawn to the MRETs industry as it continues to offer technical developments at a high rate relative to other renewable technologies. Statistics show that in 2007, investment in early stage technologies by venture capitalists increased by 112% to $2 billion.

It is apparent that the MRETs industry is beginning to receive much attention, and will continue to do so, especially in the UK with its abundance of natural marine resources. The Carbon Trust predicts that the global MRET industry could be worth £60 billion to £90 billion. Considering that the UK possesses a significant portion of Europe’s marine power generation capacity, a massive opportunity exists for investment in companies developing MRETs. Additionally, the UK is globally known as a hub of technical expertise, with a vital and relevant skill base that can be transferred from the oil, gas and offshore wind industries as well as academic expertise with several universities engaged in research and development of MRETs.

Industry Drivers

The UK’s developing MRET industry along with its substantial marine resources represents tremendous market opportunities for potential investors. The industry is seeing encouraging signs of interest and support, which is being reinforced by a continued sense of urgency to reduce carbon emissions and control climate change via the use of renewable sources of energy.

Regulatory Drivers

Financial Drivers

Test Capabilities