T-ray imaging and spectroscopy both exploit the terahertz (THz) region of the spectrum. This gives rise to very promising industrial and biomedical applications, where non-invasive and sensitive identification of a substance is achievable, through a material's distinct absorption features in the THz band. Present T-ray systems are limited by low output power, and the race is now on to find more efficient THz emitters. We discuss the feasibility of a novel high-power gallium nitride emitter for terahertz generation. This paper details the advantages of such an emitter, primarily by virtue of its high-voltage capability, and evaluates the benefits of sapphire and silicon carbide substrates. The far-infrared transmission spectra for thin samples of GaN, sapphire and SiC are reported. A high-power THz emitter, that operates at room temperature and is potentially low-cost will open up a host of new possibilities and applications. The central result in this paper demonstrates that sapphire is the better choice over SiC, for the GaN supporting substrate, as we show that it has superior THz transmission characteristics.