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Public funding for ocean energy: a comparison of the UK and U.S.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155–170
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - 2013


This paper presents a detailed analysis of the activities in which ocean energy public funding in the UK and the U.S. has been spent. It conducts a direct comparison of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) with that from the UK and Scottish Governments. UK investment in the sector has been relatively sustained and has increased since 2002. Almost $295 million has been spent in total, across multiple funding bodies. U.S. spending began with the establishment of the Marine Hydrokinetic division of the DoE Water Power Programme in 2008, which has administered all non-defence federal public funding for the sector. U.S. funding has steadily increased since 2008, with the total funding approaching $92 million.

Approximately 40% of total U.S. spending has been on underpinning R&D activities, compared to 20% in the UK which has had a larger focus on funding full scale test infrastructure and related deployment activities. Whilst the U.S. has seen steadily increasing funding for all activities to support the sector, UK funding for deployment activities, especially test centre infrastructure and demonstration activities, has not been sustained and has had significant peaks and troughs in recent years as funding programmes and initiatives have started and finished.

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