The UK′s wave energy sector is at a pre-commercial stage transitioning from prototype/demonstration towards a revenue supported industry. A host of advantages that could be realised through successful commercialisation include; the potential to generate 40–50 TWh/yr, £3.7bn of export, and 10,000+ jobs by 2020 (with tidal). Despite this, criticisms have been made about the lack of; coordination between funding bodies, communication between stakeholders and overly centralised actors. Although the value of strong problem solving networks has been noted, problems arise in validating the presence, nature and value of relationships as well as identification of tacit and informal linkages. Here network analysis is used to validate these criticisms and provide insight into sector activities. It is shown that although high levels of interaction are occurring overall, there are wide disparities. Prime movers are clearly present and less mature developers are isolated from the system as it develops norms and practices. This, combined with government fund gating has led to a Matthew effect whereby some have access to finance and are shaping institutional norms while others struggle. Although convergence is expected, a lack of public sector coordination, transparency of decision making and comparability between devices has reduced both investor and stakeholder legitimacy.