A NEW study published by energy business analyst Douglas-Westwood forecasts that 86 megawatts (MW) of wave and tidal-current-stream capacity will be installed worldwide from 2009 to 2013, with the UK expected to be the biggest market.
Adam Westwood, renewable-energy manager at the firm, said: “Both the wave-power and tidal-current-stream energy sectors are emerging industries.
“While development activities run back some 30 years, with over 200 concept technologies, commercialisation of leading technologies in both sectors is only just beginning.
“The past five years have been characterised by small-scale and full-scale deployments from a wide number of technology developers.
“The next five years will, however, see commercial-scale activity increasing significantly. A total of 135 units are forecast for deployment over the next five years.
“Of these, 74 are commercial-scale units, 55% of the total. The UK is forecast to be the biggest market, and is expected to instal 51MW of the total capacity.”
He said the UK was so dominant because of three main factors: the excellent wave and tidal resources around the coastline; the market mechanisms and funding in place, which were comparatively strong and gave more investor confidence than in other countries; and the UK being home to a large number of wave and tidal-device developers, including some of the early market leaders.
Mr Westwood said America was expected to be the second largest market, with 11MW of overall capacity. Portugal with 9MW and Canada with 6MW would be the other most significant countries.
He added: “The industry faces many challenges, however. Examples include survivability and reliability, cost reduction, attracting private investment, supply-chain stimulation, and development of market mechanisms to support deployment and development activities.”