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Peter C. Smith and Andrew Street

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Peter C. Smith and Andrew Street

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Peter M. Connor and Helen C.M. Smith

Marine renewable energy (MRE) sources are diverse in terms of technology, sites of resource potential and technological and commercial maturity. The most high-profile MRE technologies – offshore wind energy, tidal stream, tidal barrage and wave energy – are considered here. Offshore wind energy is by far the most adopted of the MRE technologies, and thus far is concentrated in the UK and mainland Europe. Large-scale deployment is dictated by the economics of project construction costs, but also by the spatial distribution of the physical resource and location relative to human settlement and grid connection. The need for effective marine spatial planning and environmental consenting has emerged as major policy solutions in overcoming siting issues. There are other potential resource conflicts that may benefit from best practice considerations, and these are the subject of increasing attention from academics and policy makers as more of the technologies prove their technical capabilities and are deployed at the commercial scale.