INVESTMENT in marine energy is likely to step up as firms get closer to commerciality, according to banks and investment companies.
Major firms such as Rolls-Royce and ABB have already put substantial amounts of cash into marine energy alongside utilities including SSE, E.on and EDF.
Government support and what has been seen as a maturing of firms in the sector has also increased interest from would-be investors.
Andy Boak, head of clean technology and sustainability for Scotland at professional service firm Ernst and Young, said it was only a matter of time before the sector took off. He added: “It is one of the few areas, hopefully, we can see . . . growth across the UK over the next few years.
“An element of uncertainty (in proving technology) has meant investment hasn’t been as forthcoming, particularly in light of the current economic climate. But we are seeing more and more private-equity and venture-capital houses looking at the sector seriously.”
Jan Love, director of project finance for Barclays Corporate, said there had been a real step up and gear shift in the sector, adding: “Companies are now getting a good balance of technology innovation, engineering capacity, good project managers and people that have got good business and strategic acumen. That combination will keep the sector moving forward.”
But Alan Dick, vice-president of the industry and technology team at corporate-finance adviser, Simmons and Co, said many devices were still not market ready. He added: “The uncertainty around the technical and commercial viability of these projects means that picking a winner is still a bit of a lottery.”