Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) is a well established metric for evaluating the economic viability and competitiveness of energy generation technologies. LCOE takes account of the energy generated by a technology and the different expenditures incurred during its manufacture, deployment, operation and decommissioning to yield a cost for a unit of electricity. Numerous studies have presented the LCOE of Wave Energy Converters (WECs), with many highlighting the difficulty of reducing costs to be competitive with alternative energy generation technologies. The Socio-economic Cost of Energy (SCOE) method considers how project spend can influence the social environment. SCOE can be used to demonstrate how spend in a project’s cost centres can benefit economies through job creation and the generation of economic activity etc.
This paper presents one method of performing an SCOE evaluation of a WEC array. The methodology presented estimates job creation and Gross Value Added (GVA), in a region of interest, that is due to the manufacture, deployment, operation and decommissioning of a WEC array. The methodology is accompanied by a case study that demonstrates the SCOE approach and also presents an application of a reverse LCOE methodology. The reverse LCOE methodology was adopted to provide estimates of the gross spend on multiple WEC cost centres and to demonstrate the approach. The results of the case study demonstrate how the SCOE methodology can be used to sanity check early projections of WEC project cost centre breakdown. The SCOE methodology can also be used as a tool, by both project developers and funding bodies, to plan, and estimate the results of, externally beneficial WEC development pathways.