This paper outlined the non-technical barriers to wave energy development, comparing progress in Ireland and Continental Europe. There have been many reports to date examining the subject from a generic perspective, but few have focused on the progress, or lack of it, in individual countries. The report stemmed from existing work carried out by Waveplam partners in Europe and the International Energy Agency, Ocean Energy Systems (IEA~OES). Waveplam is an EU project supported by Intelligent Energy for Europe (IEE) addressing non-technical barriers that will face the wave energy industry as it moves towards the mass deployment of devices. The framework for discussion comprised three categories of barrier: regulatory, logistical and financial barriers. Each category was assessed with regards its relevance in either the R&D, manufacture or development/production phase of the industry. Results of the analysis showed that most countries had addressed some of the issues. Ireland has made extensive progress with regulatory issues, in particular developing a four phase strategy for product development, as well as specifying targets, but still has not implemented investment grants, a ‘one-stop shop’ facility for permit applications, easy access to the grid, or suitable construction facilities, skilled workforce, and usable ports. Mainland Europe on the other hand has some natural advantages from a logistical perspective, having larger economies enabling relatively easy industry adaptation to ocean energy construction. Most have population centres located close to the wave energy source, providing better grid infrastructure and construction/port facilities. However the majority of the countries still need to address regulatory issues.
In conclusion, the R&D, manufacturing and development sectors of the wave energy industry present many barriers, with several barriers common to all three. Significant progress has been made by many countries to reduce these barriers. However, there is much inconsistency as to what has been addressed by individual states, with the majority of barriers still remaining to be addressed.