This study presents a comprehensive review of the ocean wave technology and prospects of the wave energy penetration to cater to clean global energy demand. An ocean wave is a remarkable energy resource, but it presents a very small share in the global energy mix because of various challenges and limitations encountered to unleash its potential. This study evaluates intensively the complex barriers to the ocean energy technology deployment. The existing and prospective major wave energy projects are extensively examined to identify the learned lessons and optimise possible technological solutions to close the gap in the energy market. Furthermore, limiting and motivating factors to foster the global wave energy potential growth are deeply discussed to ignite new research directions and promising solutions. In particular, the wave energy converters as the underpinning enabling technology are fully investigated regarding their technical readiness, reliability, competitiveness and critical challenges. To complete the power equation, possible energy conversion stages, grid connection and integration issues are dealt with in a broad view of the wave energy power system. Eventually, this study aims at providing an updated ocean wave technology review and progress while introducing new research gap to fast-track contributions in the global energy mix.