The potential of marine energy technologies in the UK – Evaluation from a systems perspective

Marianne Zeyringer*, Birgit Fais, Ilkka Keppo, James Price

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Accelerated technological change plays a crucial role in enabling the low-carbon energy transition. Quantitative energy modelling exploring alternative long-term decarbonisation pathways can support policy-makers in choosing the most important areas for technology promotion. This study analyses the potential contribution of marine energy in the UK from an energy systems perspective considering the trade-offs between local lead markets and global learning, the uncertainty in the learning potential, competition with alternative technologies and impacts on system balancing. The results indicate that only under very favourable conditions, i.e. with learning rates above 15% and high global deployment, marine energy will have a significant contribution to the UK decarbonisation pathway. Alternatively, marine energy could constitute a hedging strategy against multiple failure in other low-carbon options. The early strategic investments into marine energy lead, in most cases, to a slight rise in societal welfare costs compared to the respective cases without attempts to induce marine learning and brings benefits to the electricity system. Thus, on the whole, we conclude that marine energy has the potential to contribute to the UK energy system, but there is a substantial risk that strategic investments in a national lead market will not directly pay off in the long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1293
Number of pages13
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Energy innovation
  • Energy systems analysis
  • Marine energy
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Technology learning


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