The renewable industry is a vastly growing sector and with its great potential for the future it has certainly managed to capture the interest (and the wallets) of many of the international oil and gas companies. Although this may appear to be a conflict of interest the benefits which these industries can offer not only in funding but also in expertise is invaluable.
There are many areas of the renewable energy sector which are of particular interest to the North Sea oil and gas industry including techniques and services such as carbon capture and storage. However, not surprisingly, the most notable areas of their interest are offshore wind and wave and tidal energies.
Wind energy has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years and it is expected that installations will be able to produce 5.5Gw total capacity by 2015. Currently representing 25% of Europe's total resource there is an increasing demand and so market opportunity within this sector. As a result although the offshore wind sector has not grown as significantly in the past few years this is set to change with its growth in popularity within the North Sea sector alongside marine energy production.
To date the UK has installed 2.4Mw of marine energy which has generated over 2,500Mwh to the national grid. This contribution is only set to grow with its growth essential to the UK achieving its 2020 and 2050 renewable energy directive targets. Being an island Britain has a wealth of access to suitable areas for marine and wind energy production and is in an ideal position to exploit their position within the renewable energy sector. Currently Britain's marine energy produces around 20% of the UK's as well as 15% of the EU's energy demands representing a significant proportion of the market. As a result the UK's marine energy is expected to be worth around A�6.1 Billion by the year 2035 employing over 19,500 people in the renewable energy industry alone and contributing A�800 Million to the UK economy.
The benefits which the renewable energy industry can offer Britain in the long term could have a significant impact towards the country being able to recover from its economic recession, providing a more stable and sustainable form of export revenue.