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Subsea engineering opportunity: International Market Insights Report series - marine renewable energy


This report is part of a series of reports considering the opportunities for the Scottish oil and gas (O&G) subsea supply chain in other subsea and related markets. It covers the marine renewable energy (MRE) sector, also known as Ocean Energy. This includes various technology categories including: tidal stream/currents; tidal range; ocean currents; wave energy; ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC); and salinity gradient. The report looks at the international activity in each of the sectors, including where there is current activity and where there is the potential for activity based on published targets and available resource and opportunity. It considers synergies with the subsea O&G supply chain, highlighting where there is a direct cross over and also where there are opportunities for collaboration to provide innovative solutions.


The research is based on a desk review of existing evidence.


The report finds that MRE is still a developing sector, with the commercialisation of the technology involved still happening. However, it is estimated that by 2050 there could be up to 337 GW of MRE installed worldwide, and that this deployment could create around 300,000 direct jobs. There have been full scale demonstrations of technologies with promising results. Cost reduction will be a vital step in developing the technology. Some countries have supportive policies in place such as enhanced feed-in tariffs for MRE generated electricity, and these act as a stimulus to the development of the sector to reap the economic benefits as well as making use of indigenous resources. The marine renewable energy industry is forecast to be worth up to £76 billion globally by 2050, with many synergies with the subsea O&G industry. This presents an interesting opportunity for diversification of the Scottish supply chain. Estimates are that £450 million has been spent in the UK alone, and €1 billion in Europe already in this industry. In the coming five years a further €1 billion of research and development spending is anticipated along with €3-4 billion of expenditure on technology deployment. The UK is at the forefront of the global MRE industry and boasts a significant wave (43 GW), tidal stream (32 GW) and tidal range (25-30 GW) resource. It is also home to test centres including the world renowned European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Scotland, WaveHub in Cornwall and two demonstrator sites in Wales. In 2017 Scotland accounted for 90% of installed MRE capacity globally.


The report does not make any specific recommendations.

Author Scottish Enterprise
Published Year 2018
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
  • Internationalisation
    Internationalisation of Scottish businesses