The study will inform future investment decisions by the industry, feed into the ongoing consultation about marine conservation zones through the Finding Sanctuary project and help the South West retain its role in the development of marine renewables.

Claire Gibson, director of sustainable resources at the South West RDA, said: “The ability to deploy commercial installations is crucial to the development of the marine energy industry in the South West and this study will map the potential over the next 20 years.

“It will provide data invaluable to the industry and will help ensure that marine renewables are given due consideration in future discussions about planning for the South West’s marine environment.”

The South West is the first area of the UK to be designated a low carbon economic area because of its strength in marine renewables in July last year, the RDA said.

The South West RDA’s flagship marine energy project is Wave Hub, which according to the agency will create the world’s largest test site for wave energy technology by building a grid-connected socket on the seabed, 10 miles off the coast, to which wave power devices can be connected and their performance evaluated.

The Wave Hub will be completed this year with the first wave energy devices expected to be deployed in 2011.

PMSS is a consultancy in renewables with particular capabilities in the marine environment, working on wave and tidal projects with companies such as Marine Current Turbines, Aquamarine Power, Atlantis Resources, Scottish Power Renewables and with the public sector.