The UK government has invited marine power companies to bid for a £20m prize to encourage the country’s first full-scale wave energy projects.

The prize will be between two winners, under the government’s Marine Energy Array Demonstrator scheme (MEAD), which will develop the first wave and tidal devices to sit in array formation.

UK Energy and Climate Change Minister said that Mead would help move marine power to the next stage of development.

"This will take us one vital step closer to realising our ambitions of generating electricity from the waves and tides, powering homes and businesses across the whole of the UK with clean, green electricity," said Barker.

The move is expected to help leading companies based in the UK and operating in wave and tidal power business to make technology commercially viable.

RenewableUK wave and tidal development manager David Krohn welcomed the funding and said, "The marine energy industry has the potential to allow us to generate clean electricity equivalent to up to 20% of our needs using the inexhaustible power of the sea. The Mead scheme will provide enough funding to deliver two arrays, which will help kick-start the industry, and we welcome it.

"However, it’s important to recognise that this is only the beginning of the road to building marine energy into a fully commercial industry. Our research shows that £120 million of capital support is required to overcome barriers to commercial development and unlock our share of this global industry," Krohn cautioned.