In this chapter, we focus on the potential of ocean wave energy both from the energy resource and the electricity market standpoints. The issues are as follows: can ocean wave energy satisfy a significant part of the energy needs of humanity? Where are the main energy sources and what is the objective cost of energy so as to enable market penetration?
First, we include an ocean engineering refresher on ocean waves which is necessary to address the characterization of the energy resource. Next, we discuss the energy source and its distribution around the globe, and then the nearshore resource. This discussion leads us to recommend that preference should be given by developers of wave energy converters to systems deployed in finite depth of the order of 10–20 m. Finally, the energy cost of current technical solutions is weighed against market retail energy price in order to discuss development potentials from an economic point of view.
This is a chapter from Ocean Wave Energy Conversion: Resource, Technologies and Performance.