Global Marine Energy Market Analysis to 2020 - Capacity, Generation, Regulation and Market Share Analysis

10 Aug 2010 • by Natalie Aster
The growing focus on renewable power has resulted in growing investment in various technologies and one of them is the marine technology. Though still in a very nascent stage, the market holds the potential to become a big one in the coming years.

Global Energy Industry:

The population of the world has been increasing at a rapid pace in the last few decades and this has lead to an increase in demand for a number of resources like water, food and energy. The population of the world doubled from 3.2 billion in 1962 to 6.4 billion in 2005 and is forecast to reach 9.2 billion in 2050. Natural resources such as coal, oil and gas are fast depleting and the fear of climate change is putting pressure on the energy sector to move away from non-renewable sources for producing energy and concentrate on renewable sources to meet energy demands.

The energy industry is facing challenging times, meeting energy demands in the face of depleting natural resources while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions. This is coupled with the slow pace of technological innovation in renewable energy and the political instability of oil and gas producing nations.

The total world energy consumption stood at 9,323 Mtoe in 2001 and it rose to 11,484 Mtoe in 2009. The figure below gives the global energy consumption in Mtoe from 2001 to 2030.

Global Renewable Energy Industry

Renewable energy is the energy that is produced from natural resources. The sources include sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, among others. Main types of renewable energy:

Wind power:

Wind power is the conversion of the energy present in wind into a useful form of energy by using turbines, mills and pumps. As of 2009 the total global installed capacity for wind energy is 157.9 GW and it is expected to grow in the coming years. Wind energy is an attractive source of energy as it is clean, plentiful, renewable and produces no greenhouse gases.


The energy present in water can be harnessed to produce power. Water is 800 times denser than air so even a slow flowing stream of water can be used to generate power. The various forms include: Hydroelectric energy, which is the term used for large dams. Micro hydro systems are much smaller projects and typically produce 100kW of power. The total global installed capacity of hydropower stands at 888.8GW for 2009.

Solar energy:

Solar energy is derived from the sun in the form of radiation and is converted into energy through photovoltaics and heat pumps. Only a fraction of the total available source is converted into power. The total installed global solar power capacity in 2009 is 23.5 GW.


Plants capture the energy from the sun by a process called photosynthesis. When these plants are burned they release the energy that is stored in them. Hence it is a renewable form of energy. There are two methods of harnessing this energy, firstly by burning plants that are specifically grown for this purpose and secondly by burning the residues of the plants that are used for other purposes. The total global installed biomass power capacity in 2009 is 49.6 GW.

Geothermal energy:

Geothermal energy is the energy that is obtained by tapping the heat of the earth. At few places it can be harnessed by drilling just a few kilometers from the surface but at certain places it is required to drill several kilometers down to harness the geothermal energy. The total global installed capacity of geothermal power in 2009 is 10.7 GW.

Ocean Energy:

Ocean energy is the energy carried by water in the water bodies, in other words, the world’s seas and oceans. Harnessing a fraction of this energy could solve the world’s energy crisis to a large extent. Tidal energy and wave energy are the two main types of ocean energy.

The untapped energy in the Oceans:

Oceans have a huge potential to act as energy resources. It is estimated that harnessing a fraction of ocean energy can solve the world’s energy needs. There are a number of potential sites spread across the globe which are favorable sites for ocean power. The western coasts of the US and the UK have conditions favorable for wave and tidal energies. The governments of various nations have realized the potential of this energy and are now making efforts for the development of this sector. The UK, especially Scotland, is leading the race by introducing lot of programs and supporting various ocean energy companies.

Wave Energy:

The waves in the ocean are caused by the wind that blows over it. It is an enormous source of energy and in many areas across the world wind blows with enough consistency to form waves. The potential of the wave is yet to be harnessed and many countries are investing to explore the opportunities in this industry.

Tidal Energy:

Tidal power or tidal energy is the conversion of energy in the tides into electricity. The advantage of this form of energy is that the tides can be predicted. Tides are formed because of the gravitational force of the moon and the sun and also due to the rotation of the Earth. There are very few sites across the world that are favorable for harnessing the tidal power.

Government Support and Funding from Industry Associations:

The ocean energy industry at present is at a stage where the wind energy industry was in the 1980s.Government support and encouragement are very important to develop this industry into a reliable renewable energy source and make it cost-effective and competitive with fossil fuels. The governments of various nations have already started programs to encourage the marine energy industry, in particular the US and UK governments.. The Scottish government aims to spearhead this revolution in the marine energy industry and wants to become the number one country in the world for marine energy. They have encouraged a number of companies to start their operations and test their technologies in the waters surrounding Scotland.

US and UK Leading the Race

The US and the UK are leading the race compared to other countries in the world in the field of marine energy. A major number of active wave and tidal plants are located in these regions and the countries have identified a number of sites along their coasts which are favorable for harnessing ocean power. These countries have allocated budgets and set targets to encourage using renewable sources for energy production and are making efforts in that direction.