Ocean energy is a promising source of clean renewable energy, with clear development targets set by the European Commission. However, the ocean energy sector faces non-technological challenges and opportunities that are frequently overlooked in deployment plans. The present study aimed to provide a critical evaluation of the ocean energy sector’s legal, institutional, and political frameworks with an identification and analysis of both barriers and enabling features for the deployment of ocean energy. In the first stage, a literature review on the current political and regulatory frameworks of a set of European countries was carried out, setting the basis for the main challenges and enabling factors faced by the sector. Secondly, a critical analysis of the main non-technological barriers and enablers was performed, which was supported by questionnaires sent to regulators, technology developers, and test-site managers. This questionnaire allowed us to collect and integrate the views, perceptions, and personal experiences of the main stakeholders of the ocean energy sector in the analysis. The most relevant insights were collected to guide future policy instruments, supports, and consenting measures in a more informed and effective manner and to help accelerate the development of the sector.