Help is urgently needed from the London and Edinburgh governments if the UK is to maintain its global lead in wind and wave energy and create 20,000 jobs, according to a new study.

Despite the collapse of Edinburgh-based Pelamis Wave Power in December and other problems facing the sector, the report said British companies are well-placed to capture £76 billion of a global market by 2050, adding up to £4 billion to UK GDP if supported.

The companies surveyed for the report had spent nearly £450 million in the UK's marine energy supply chain.

It found they had spent around £7 of privately sourced money for each £1 of public funding they received. This investment supported around 1,700 people working in the wave and tidal energy sector, and the industry had the potential to support up to 20,000 jobs in the next decade, it argues.

Capitalising on Capability by UK Government advisers, Marine Energy Programme Board, is launched today (wed) in Edinburgh at RenewableUK's Wave and Tidal 2015 conference.

The study urges the UK, Scottish and Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations to work with the MEPB to provide a joint vision and suitably funded strategy to commercialise wave and tidal technologies. It warns that without a unified approach, there is a risk of duplication of effort and important measures falling between the gaps.

The report also warns that although the existing support provided by the Renewables Obligation and Contracts for Difference schemes has created an attractive market for commercial marine energy projects in the UK.

RenewableUK's Wave & Tidal Development Manager, Dee Nunn, said:

"By implementing the actions outlined in this timely report, the UK could secure its position at the forefront of the global marine energy sector, putting recent setbacks behind us. The measures being put forward would enable industry to capitalise on the excellent resource and test facilities we already have in the UK to move the technologies to a commercial position."