A new report published Wednesday has advocated the potential for wave energy to contribute 10% of global electricity demand by 2050, and calls on industry to increase its global ambition to reach this goal.
Published by UK-based wave technology development company Marine Power Systems (MPS), the new report, Making Wave Power Work, advocates for and provides an analysis of the economic and environmental potential that wave power offers both the United Kingdom — where it is arguably in its strongest form — and for the rest of the world. Further, the report calls on wave energy industry and trade bodies to push for a 10% target, and calls on businesses and governments to ramp up financial support and policy stability to make this a reality.
“Whilst solar and wind power are presently the UK’s main renewable energy sources, waves — an untapped resource — have the potential to form a prominent part of our renewable energy mix,” the authors begin.
More specifically, Marine Power Systems believes that global wave resources could be worth an estimated 4,000 TWh annually — or, to look at it another way, total wave resources across the globe amount to around 80,000 TWh per year, but 4,000 TWh is economically exploitable. The world’s leading industry body, Ocean Energy Europe, has predicted that a total of 337 GW worth of marine power could be sourced by 2050, with a market value around £76 billion ($97 billion).
Obviously, these are long-term goals, but what is more immediate and immediately-possible is the role of wave power in Europe. The report highlights the fact that 45% of wave energy companies are currently based in the European Union (including the UK), and with the right financial and policy support over the coming decades, Europe could exploit an annual market in the range of €53 billion ($60 billion).
Within the European market, the United Kingdom currently reigns as the leader, with over a third of Europe’s wave energy generation potential. Already £450 million ($578 million) has been invested into the UK marine energy supply chain, primarily from private investment intending to drive science, engineering, and operations.
But more needs to be done, in Europe and beyond, if the necessary financial and political support is to be secured. There is a lack of information for investors, governments, and the public, on the role wave power could take — and even just how it works.
“The world is rapidly transitioning to a low carbon future,” explains Dr Gareth Stockman, Managing Director of Marine Power Systems. “Our vision is for wave power to provide 10% of the world’s electricity by 2050. With stable government policy, steady investment and joined up communications from industry partners, the wave energy industry can become an economic success story, following in the footsteps of more mature renewable technologies such as wind and solar to become a source of reliable, affordable, clean energy.”
The report is available in full here (PDF).