Ocean (wave and tidal) energy is still in the prototype testing stage, with several challenges standing between the sector’s current status and the goal of commercial deployment. The study of how to reduce the cost of energy, to a level competitive with renewable energy alternatives, is an important aspect of sector development. A comprehensive PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis has been carried out to reveal the risks and uncertainties that face wave and tidal energy technology within identified themes. The purpose of the PESTLE analysis was to ascertain the factors most relevant to the reduction of the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE), and the wider commercialisation of wave and tidal energy technology. It has been shown that two separate case studies are required in order to more accurately assess the needs of the ocean energy sector. Firstly the suitability of different geographic locations for technology deployment and secondly the progress of the technology in the development cycle; the areas that require the focus of research and development activity. With the completion of both case studies, the paths towards sector development and cost effective energy production has been presented.