By Max Clarke

UK companies- already world leaders in marine energy technologies- could lead up to a quarter of the world’s burgeoning marine energy renewables market, new analysis released today by the Carbon Trust shows.

Equivalent to up to £76bn to the UK economy by 2050, this growing sector could also generate over 68,000 UK jobs, if the technology is successfully developed and deployed internationally and the UK builds on its existing lead.

The UK boasts around 35 of the world’s 120-130 wave energy and tidal stream device developers. British companies such as Pelamis, Aquamarine Power and Marine Current Turbines are leading the way in deploying their technologies in UK waters. Almost half of Europe’s wave resources and over a quarter of its tidal energy resources are to be found off the British coastline.

Marine energy could be a major ‘made in Britain’ success,” commented Benj Sykes, director of innovations at the Carbon Trust.

The majority of these jobs would develop thanks to growing export markets in countries like Chile, Korea and America as well as Atlantic-facing European states which benefit from powerful waves or tidal currents.

Sykes continued: “By cementing our early mover advantage, the UK could develop a significant export market, generate thousands of jobs and meet our own demand for clean, home-grown electricity. To maintain our world-leading position, we must continue to drive innovation within the industry and turn our competitive advantage in constructing and operating marine technology into sustained green growth.”

The analysis, the most in-depth of its kind, found that total marine energy capacity could be 27.5GW in the UK by 2050, which would be capable of supplying to the grid the equivalent of over a fifth of current UK electricity demand.