A techno-economic model of an autonomous wave-powered desalination plant is developed and indicates that fresh water can be produced for as little as £0.45/m3. The advantages of an autonomous wave-powered desalination plant are also discussed indicating that the real value of the system is enhanced due to its flexibility for deployment and reduced environmental impact. The modelled plant consists of the Oyster wave energy converter, conventional reverse osmosis membranes and a pressure exchanger–intensifier for energy recovery. A time-domain model of the plant is produced using wave-tank experimentation to calibrate the model of Oyster, manufacturer's data for the model of the reverse osmosis membranes and a hydraulic model of the pressure exchanger–intensifier. The economic model of the plant uses best-estimate cost data which are reduced to annualised costs to facilitate the calculation of the cost of water. Finally, the barriers to the deployment of this technology are discussed, but they are not considered insurmountable.