Sustainable energy technologies have become a critical part and a major contributor to the global energy supply mix especially in the electricity sector. This is driven by our desire to use sustainable resources to reduce pollution emanating from the current use of fossil fuels, and to provide a pathway to achieve national and internationally agreed emission reductions targets. Although sustainable energy technologies are in most cases, still driven by what is termed as support mechanisms or subsidies, the sustainable or renewable energy industry has matured, with huge investments being ploughed into it globally. For instance, in 2016 global new investment in renewable energy (excluding large hydro-electric projects) was around US$241.6 billion, providing an added installed capacity of ~138.5GW of renewable power mainly from solar and wind.
The utilisation of oceans resources, such as offshore wind, waves and marine currents (or tides) is also gathering pace and their exploitation offer one of the appropriate routes for the production of sustainable electrical power. Marine energy mainly refers to power generation from wave and tides and there are now tangible plans for multi MW deployment in farms or arrays. This was mainly sparked off in 2010 by the UK’s Crown Estate who announced concessions to deploy over 1.6 GW of multi-megawatt mix wave and tidal technology farms and arrays in the Pentland Firth by 2020. It also announced recently, further concessions of sites to exploit the marine resource spanning both north and south of the UK. Globally, there were announcements for technology and energy yield support for the deployment of multiple devices in arrays, especially those announced for the Bay of Fundy in Canada, France and other announcements such as those in South Korea and China. The paper provides the status of these developments addressing issues related to their infancy as compared to others renewable technologies such as offshore wind, and provides a discourse to current technology readiness at commercial scale deployment. The paper also discusses the future prospects of marine energy and asks the question, where the wave and tidal energy industry fits in relation to global investments in term of support of appropriate technologies and the readiness of deploying these at scale.